|Judge John C. McKeon sentenced a man who raped his own daughter to only two months.Teresa Getten/Havre Daily News|
This is an excerpt from a story about incest that was published in the New York Times. It is a perfect illustration why victims often do not go to the authorities to report the crime of rape. Certainly 2 months in jail was a ridiculous sentence for a man who raped his own daughter. And to compound matters, the wife pleaded for leniency. She did not want her husband to spend 25 years in jail. What about the young victim who will spend her life in a jail in her mind? Where are her rights?
A judge who sentenced a Montana man to 60 days in jail for incest with his 12-year-old daughter is facing a firestorm of criticism and an impeachment effort by those who view the sentence as far too light. The state had recommended the 40-year-old father of three serve a 100-year prison sentence with 75 years suspended — in effect, 25 years — and the dismissal of two other incest charges as part of a plea deal.
"A father repeatedly raped his 12-year-old daughter,” the Valley County deputy attorney, Dylan Jensen, said during the sentencing hearing on Oct. 4, according to reports.
But in handing down his sentence, Judge John C. McKeon of Valley County District Court noted that lawyers for the defendant could argue for a less-severe punishment if an evaluator recommended treatment in a local community.
Weighing the evaluation and several other factors, Judge McKeon imposed a 30-year sentence, all of it suspended so long as the man met certain terms. The defendant must also register as a sex offender.
“The sentence may not be a popular decision by certain members of the general public, but it is a just and proper decision,” Judge McKeon wrote.
To critics, however, the decision represented a breakdown in the system