**Update** I learned on October 26 that when imposing the 60 day sentence minus 17 days already served on the man who raped his own daughter multiple times, Judge John C. McKeon also allowed this incestuous rapist to serve the 43 days at HIS DISCRETION! The BEST thing that could happen to this 12 year old girl that NO ONE spoke for is to get as far away from Montana as possible and never look back. I pray she has a relative in another state because her mother, grandmother, court and Montana ALL failed her.
As a survivor of horrific childhood abuse ~ physical, emotional and sexual, I think I’m qualified to chime in on a recent case in Montana that makes me question if the system has evolved at all in the past 30 years. When I was a little girl children had no rights; we were like chattel. We “belonged” to our parents and therefore were not given the right to speak or defend ourselves. Even if by some miracle we were given the opportunity to do so, a few simple words from a parent would negate anything we said.
This particular case involved a 40-year-old man who raped a 12-year-old girl multiple times. The victim? His own daughter.
Her life will never be the same I guarantee. With counseling and a strong support system she *might* move past it to lead a productive life but make no mistake ~ “it” will never truly leave her. Instead, the insidious evil of her repeated rape will remain buried within her soul and without rhyme or reason will rear its ugliness when least expected.
The district attorney, whom I commend, had an arrangement with the defense attorney for the father to serve 25 years in prison. As this predator (who admitted to raping his daughter (3) times) stood before the bench on October 4, 2016, he expected to be sentenced to 25 years. However District Judge John C. McKeon shocked everyone by imposing a sentence of 60 days with 17 days credit for time served. This despicable, abhorrent, predatory creature masquerading as a man will serve 43 days for violating a child, HIS child, in one of the most egregious ways possible.
As shocking as this is, the events surrounding this case become even more disturbing. The victim’s mother, who walked in on HER husband sexually abusing HER daughter, wrote the court in defense of her husband instead of her daughter. As he further justified the sentence, calling it “a just and proper decision”, Judge McKeon cited statements from the victim’s mother and maternal grandmother, both of whom acknowledged the “horrible” nature of the crime while seeking leniency.
“He needs help — not to spend 25 years locked up,” the victim’s mother wrote. His two sons need their father, she added, “even with very understandable restrictions.” She wrote that her husband “made a horrible choice” but a 25-year prison term was not the best punishment.”He needs help,” she wrote the court. “He has two sons that still love him and need their father in their lives, even with very understandable restrictions. I would like to see my children have an opportunity to heal the relationship with their father. Please give him the opportunity to work on fixing the relationships he destroyed. He is not a monster, just a man that really screwed up and has been paying in many ways.
The maternal grandmother wrote that the man’s “children, especially his sons, will be devastated if their Dad is no longer part of their lives.
Judge McKeon said the man’s family, friends, church, and employer had all voiced their support for him in court and that he weighed all these factors in handing down the sentence.
NO ONE SPOKE FOR THE VICTIM
Not her mother, maternal grandmother, social worker, an advocate for sexual abuse, a guidance counselor, church ~ no one!
Needless to say the community is outraged and a group called Justice 4 Montana started a petition to Impeach Judge John McKeon which has over 99k signatures as of this evening.
The petition names the father and shows his booking photo as do several media outlets. I however chose not to out of respect for the victim and must say I had to hunt for articles that did NOT give his name so that I could hyperlink. I also refuse to post a photo of a rapist. Interesting article and video by People. ⬅︎
Reading about this travesty of justice took me back to a similar case which ironically also happened in Montana. In 2007 a teacher at Billings High School, Stacey Dean Rambold, raped a 14-year-old freshman, Cherice Moralez over a 3 month period during the latter part of the year. Early in 2008 Cherice confided in someone from her church counseling group about the multiple rapes. One of her peers in the church group contacted Cherice’s mother who notified police immediately. Despite coming from a loving and supportive family plus having a spunky personality, Cherice began to deteriorate into the darkness as she became ostracized and bullied both at school and in the community. This beautiful girl who was just beginning to experience life, committed suicide on February 6, 2010, a few weeks shy of her 17th birthday.
My heart aches for this poor girl.
The nightmare was far from over for Cherice’s family. Although Rambold pled guilty, District Judge G. Todd Baugh of Billings, Montana, sentenced the former high school teacher to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended, for sexual intercourse without consent. 31 DAYS in prison after suggesting the victim, Cherice, was equally responsible for the 2007 rape. Judge Baugh said that 14-year-old victim seemed “older than her chronological age.
Baugh said the victim looked older than her years and was “probably as much in control of the situation as was the defendant,” according to the Montana attorney general’s office.
After public outcry, Rambold was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Randal Spaulding in September 2014.
In an ironic and callous twist in 2015, now retired Judge G. Todd Baugh had the lifetime achievement award bestowed upon him by his local bar association.
Both of these cases are extremely disturbing as are other cases where rapists are given a slap on the wrist (Brock Turner comes to mind). Violate and degrade a child or woman and receive a “sentence” equal to serving a month in jail for unpaid traffic tickets?
The victims are often forced to sit through hours of testimony, called to the witness stand to be cross-examined, often by a male, and forced to recall the horrific details of their abuse. When will we stand up for the youngest and most vulnerable victims of these unspeakable crimes and bring their perpetrators to justice, or is justice dead and gone?
The U.S. judicial system has victimized the victims for years by subjecting them to the process of investigations, only to allow rapists and pedophiles to get off on an ubiquitous technicality.
Is this what the justice system has evolved into?
And remember in the first case, no one even spoke for her!