Thursday, September 26, 2013

Misreporting of teacher student rape case

The media is reporting that a Montana teacher who's a rapist was sentenced for 30 days.  It's implied for the rape of a 14 year old former student.  In addition the judge has come under criticism for saying the victim (who committed suicide) acted older than her age and in much "control of the situation". 

Two points:

1.  After the girl committed suicide the prosecutors lost the key witness, and therefore chose to offer the teacher a plea bargain deal that he accepted.  This included admitting to 1 count of rape, sex offender counseling, and order to stay away from children,  and a deferred prison sentence.  So that was the end of that case in chief.

It was later found that the teacher didn't attend all of the counseling sessions, and also had visited some of his minor relatives.  This violated the terms of the agreement, which subjected him to resentencing.  Since the violation here is one of the probation, and it was in fact technical, the judge was legally correct here.  Sure he could have done the politically correct thing and gave the maximum punishment.  But from what I can gather from what's not being said. The 14 year old girl hit on this teacher, and he foolishly gave in.  If I'm wrong, I will of course retract.  It would be horrible for a teacher to use his power to have sex with a 14 year old.  That deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law.  It is also wrong, but not as horrible if the 14 year old was the aggressor.  He still should have been fired and punished, but not as if he's a violent offender if he wasn't.  As a society we sometimes seem hesitant to draw relevant distinctions.  It's clear that many 14 year olds are "grown", and many are like little children.  Some are manipulative more than 30 year olds.  Others have the mind of 8 year olds.  And of course, it's possible to have everything in between.  I will continue to search to find out what happened exactly.  But if it is the case, that he is basically being accused of statutory rape because he didn't stop her advances, and he gave in to his sexual desires, I would not have used a parole type violation to give him a long sentence.  The media is reporting this story as though:

there was a trial where he was found guilty
the judge then sentenced him to 30 days

There are many facts being hidden, and others being overshadowed by the headlines and the outrage.

2.  The girl committed suicide.  That is bad.  That is not the teacher's fault.  That is her fault.  Just as if she did something good as a result of this experience, I wouldn't credit her rape, the rapist, or this bad situation as being part of the reason.  People are responsible for themselves.  No one can make you kill yourself.  Of course they can kill you, that would be homicide.  But the idea that she killed herself based on this horrible experience, and that should factor in to society's treatment of the teacher is wrong and illogical.  Again, I haven't been able to find out the facts of the story, so I'm trying to judge what happened based on what is and isn't being said.  For instance, if it was true that he lured her or threatened her in order to have sex, I'd think that would be in the stories, because it would bolster the case against him.  Since it's not there, I assume that's because it didn't happen.  But in terms of suicide.  If he plied her with alcohol and drugs, raped her and dehumanized her.   And then she killed herself, I would agree to blame him. I would think it would be fair to charge him with homicide in that case.  But again, I'm assuming these things didn't happen.  So he's not responsible.

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