Protesters marched outside the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo, Texas, on Monday only days after Thomas Boden was released from jail and given 10 years of deferred adjudication probation (video below).
Boden was arrested in February after he allegedly sexually assaulted his girlfriend’s two-year-old girl in January.
Ashley Springer, the little girl's aunt, told My Fox Zone that Boden had been left in charge of her sister's kids while the sister went to work at night, but when the sister got home, she found blood in the girl's diaper.
The toddler was checked by a doctor at a local emergency room, and told the physician that Boden had “hurt” her, according to Springer.
The toddler's siblings, ages five and six, told police that they witnessed Boden on top of their sister and hurting her, notes My Fox Zone.
Boden was originally charged in April with indecency with a child by contact and aggravated sexual assault of a child.
However, those charges were dismissed after Boden agreed to a plea guilty to injury to a child causing serious bodily injury on Aug. 25. He will not have to register with authorities as a sex offender, reports KTXS.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Ferguson said in a statement:
In this case, we were dealing with a child who was two years old at the time of the offense, no adult witnesses, but serious injuries.
When we were looking at our options, my primary concern was for the best interest of the child, including considering what going through the rigors of trial preparation and testimony in front of a jury would be like for a toddler.
...The only witnesses to this offense were both toddlers – one was 2 and one was 4. The possibility of one or both of these children being unable to testify was extremely high, if not a certainty.
If that were to happen, we faced the very real possibility that the Defendant would be found Not Guilty and simply go home with no consequences. That was something we could not risk.
However, Karla Payne, executive director of the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center, told KXTS: "We feel like there was a lot of evidence that could have convinced a jury that he was guilty and we just thought that the DA's office should have prosecuted this in front of a jury trial."
Springer told My Fox Zone that the family was not contacted about the plea deal beforehand.
Our victim coordinators work hard every day to update every victim as their cases progress. In this case, they tried to update them as they normally would, including when they got word that there would be a plea. Unfortunately, the family moved several weeks or maybe even months ago, and never updated their contact information with their office.