COMMENTARY: Texas Judge Wrongs Rape Victim With Light Sentence

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  • It seems that District Judge Jeanine Howard doesn’t know what constitutes rape in the state of Texas and perhaps she should step down from the bench for a while until she figures it out.

    At least she has recused herself from one of the most absurd rulings regarding rape in modern memory. Good idea. Howard has been embroiled in a firestorm of controversy – and blasted by prosecutors — ever since she handed down a light sentence to an admitted rapist who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl.

    “She wasn’t the victim she claimed to be,” Howard said before sentencing Sir Young (pictured) to just 45 days in jail, 5 years of deferred probation and 250 hours of community service – at a rape crisis center.

    Howard wants Young, an admitted rapist, to spend 250 hours working with women who are in crisis after being sexually assaulted? How is Young working at a rape crisis center helpful to these women and what kind of signal does that send to other potential rapists?

    “We all read it and we’re like, wait a minute,” Bobbie Villareal, executive director of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center told the Dallas Observer. “It flies in the face of logic,” Villareal told the local CBS station.

    “First of all, in that you would ask someone to do their community supervision for the population that has been directly affected by the exact crime. That’s like saying a pedophile should do their community supervision helping at a pre-school.”

    I feel bad for the 14-year-old rape victim because Howard essentially accused her of asking to be raped, even though Young admitted that he raped the girl in a music room at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts on Oct. 4, 2011. He faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. How much more information did Howard need?

    Here’s something more troubling: Howard actually told the media — The Dallas Morning News — that medical records show that the 14-year-old victim had three previous sexual partners and had given birth before the sexual assault. (The girl’s mother denies her daughter has ever been pregnant.)

    This rape victim, who is now 17, is a minor and Howard callously shared the details of her alleged past sexual relationships with the media – and the nation.

    Regardless, no still means no. In court, the victim testified that she only wanted to kiss Young, and had told him “no” and “stop” during the attack. But Howard didn’t seem to be swayed.

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