“This sen­ten­ce in un­ac­cep­ta­ble”

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

USA - Mont­a­na’s gover­nor agrees with ci­ti­zens who are ups­et that a man was sen­ten­ced to 60 days in jail for ra­ping his 12-year-old daugh­ter, but Ste­ve Bul­lock says his of­fi­ce has no au­tho­ri­ty to in­ves­ti­ga­te or over­ri­de the de­ci­si­on. Bul­lock sent an email Thurs­day to con­sti­tu­ents who con­tac­ted his of­fi­ce about Dis­trict Jud­ge Jo­hn McKe­on’s de­ci­si­on to gi­ve the eas­tern Mont­a­na man a 30-year sus­pen­ded pri­son sen­ten­ce. ‘As a fa­ther of three school age kids, I be­lie­ve the sen­ten­ce Jud­ge McKe­on im­po­sed is un­ac­cep­ta­ble,’ Bul­lock wro­te. ‘Ra­pe of a child is a hor­ri­fic cri­me and when it hap­pens at the hands of a pa­rent, it vi­o­la­tes a re­la­ti­ons­hip we ex­pect to be cen­te­red on trust and pro­tec­ti­on.’ Court re­cords said the mo­ther wal­ked in on the man ra­ping the child. Sta­te law calls for a man­da­to­ry mi­ni­mum 25year sen­ten­ce for in­cest if the vic­tim is age 12 or youn­ger. McKe­on sus­pen­ded the man’s sen­ten­ce un­der an ex­cep­ti­on that al­lows for a les­ser sen­ten­ce if a psy­chos­exu­al eva­lu­a­ti­on de­ter­mi­nes tre­at­ment ‘af­fords a bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ty for re­ha­bi­lita­ti­on ... and the ul­ti­ma­te pro­tec­ti­on of the vic­tim and so­ci­e­ty.’ The man al­so must un­der­go sex of­fen­der tre­at­ment and fa­ces ma­ny other re­stric­ti­ons. McKe­on’s sen­ten­cing or­der no­tes that Val­ley Coun­ty pro­se­cu­tors didn’t chal­len­ge the re­sults of the psy­chos­exu­al eva­lu­a­ti­on, that the de­fen­dant has com­mu­ni­ty sup­port, no­bo­dy spo­ke on be­half of the 12-year-old girl and a pre­sen­ten­ce in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on did not gi­ve a sen­ten­cing re­com­men­da­ti­on or even a ty­pi­cal sen­ten­ce gi­ven for the cri­me. The or­der al­so in­clu­des ex­cerpts from let­ters writ­ten by the vic­tim’s mo­ther and ma­ter­nal grand­mo­ther ar­guing in fa­vor of com­mu­ni­ty tre­at­ment. About a do­zen pe­o­p­le ups­et about the le­nient sen­ten­ce con­tac­ted the gover­nor’s of­fi­ce. De­part­ment of Jus­ti­ce spo­kes­man Jo­hn Bar­nes said Fri­day that At­tor­ney Ge­ne­ral Tim Fox’s of­fi­ce is spea­king with the Val­ley Coun­ty at­tor­ney’s of­fi­ce to de­ter­mi­ne if the­re are any grounds for ap­peal.

‘Whi­le this sen­ten­ce is ob­vious­ly re­pre­hen­si­ble, no sen­ten­ce can be ap­pea­led by the sta­te un­less it vi­o­la­tes sen­ten­cing laws,’ Bar­nes said in a sta­te­ment, ad­ding that le­ni­en­cy alo­ne is not suf­fi­cient grounds for ap­peal. McKe­on ear­lier an­noun­ced plans to re­ti­re in No­vem­ber af­ter 22 ye­ars on the bench.


Gover­nor Ste­ve Bul­lock talks to re­por­ters. (Pho­to: bo­ze­man­dai­ly­chro­ni­cle.)

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