Clueless judge sentences rapist to community service — at a rape crisis center

Clueless judge sentences rapist to community service — at a rape crisis center

May 1, 2014

Earlier this year, 21-year-old Sir Young confessed to raping a 14 year-old girl in 2011, at Booker T. Washington High School in Texas, where they were both students. Pleading guilty to sexual assault of a child, Young was eligible for up to 20 years in prison, but Dallas County District Judge Jeanine Howard decided to go easy on him.

So easy, in fact, that he was sentenced only to 45 days and 250 hours of community service at, of all places, a rape crisis center. However, due to a significant amount of public outcry and the protests of the rape crisis center itself, she is being forced to reconsider her decision.

While I am certainly no fan of excessive sentencing, and firmly believe that our justice system should be focused more on rehabilitation than punishment as it is obviously more effective in reducing recidivism rates, 45 days and some community service seems a tad light for something as serious as sexual assault of a child (or anyone, frankly). Not to mention that the last person rape victims need to be around is a convicted rapist. It’s pretty sad that this wouldn’t occur to a female judge.

I’m sure the impetus for this was to teach the rapist some kind of life lesson, like “Hey, in case you were unaware, women find being raped pretty traumatizing! I sure bet you wouldn’t go around raping people if you knew they weren’t quite so fond of the experience!” or something. I cannot imagine what else it would be. However, it is certainly not the job of rape victims to provide an enlightening experience for a rapist. I’m gonna say that they’ve probably got enough going on that they don’t need to be dealing with that.

Bobbie Villareal, executive director of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center where Young was sentenced to perform community service, was appalled at Judge Howard’s lack of consideration for the rape survivors seeking treatment there. After being contacted by probation officials, she informed them that the center had a policy prohibiting any kind of community service from criminals, for the obvious safety reasons.

“I’m sure she probably thought that it was his way of giving back perhaps. But it’s just not an appropriate place for him to do his community supervision,” Villareal told WFAA, “There’s just so many problems with that. First of all, we would worry about our client safety and well-being, the appropriateness of them having any kind of contact with survivors — even if it was a past victimization. Just having a criminal defendant in the office could be a triggering effect for many of our clients.”

She was also displeased with the fact that Young only got 45 days, stating that such light sentencing for rape is a deterrent for survivors to report their assaults–making them wonder if it’s even worth it go through the trauma of a trial if they perpetrator is only going to get a month or so in prison and some community service.

Probation officials are now looking for another place for Young to do his community service in a capacity that does not involve him interacting with crime victims.

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