Justice Served?

In my very first post, Taking Rape Seriously, I reported on the NYC case of Tony Simmons, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting youths under his care as a city employee.

Today, he was sentenced. Simmons received 4 years in jail and must register as a sex offender. Justice was served, but is this enough?

While I stand by my belief that this is certainly better than the original deal offered — 10 years’ probation — I can’t help but feel that 4 years is a slap on the wrist for a man who showed no remorse for his actions and was found guilty of 12 of the 14 counts with which he was charged.

Perhaps this “slap” stings all the more in light of the GOP’s efforts to re-define rape, which would ultimately let certain rapists — like Simmons, a serial statutory rapist — get away with their crimes. But this effort notwithstanding, Simmons’ sentence is still too lenient.

Women’s eNews recently used the Simmons case to highlight the all too lenient treatment of rapists, and reported some astonishing statistics regarding sexual violence in juvenile-detention facilities:

Simmons’ case is not unusual. In 2005 and 2006 there were 4,072 allegations of sexual violence of all types in juvenile-detention facilities across the country, according to Bureau of Justice statistics, with young women more often the victims of staff-perpetrated sexual violence than youth-on-youth sexual violence (51 percent versus 27 percent).

This is unacceptable. How many of these victims get justice? Chances are, not a lot, given that these types of crimes often get swept under the proverbial carpet or plea-dealed out.

And when they do get justice, it’s not the kind of justice you see on Law & Order. No commensurate penalties in real life, it seems! In New York, for example, persistent sexual abuse is a Class E Felony, the lowest class of felony there is, which severely limits the penalty available to impose on a perpetrator. Really speaks to how the justice system values victims of sexual abuse, huh?


Categories: Violence

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