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Dallas Judge Issues Slap on the Wrist for Admitted Rapist, Puts Victim on Trial

by: Natalie San Luis

Tue May 06, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

The crazy train that is the Dallas County rape trial, involving a 14-year-old girl who repeatedly said "no" and "stop" to her 18-year-old attacker, has officially derailed.

Even after Sir Young pled guilty to sexually assaulting a classmate at their school, Dallas County Judge Jeanine Howard said on Thursday that the now 17-year-old "wasn't the victim she claimed to be."

On Friday, Howard recused herself from the case in so that she could speak openly about her decision to issue a shockingly forgiving sentence to the admitted assault perpetrator: 45 days in jail, five years of probation, and—wait for it—250 hours of community service at the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (the executive director has already stated that no rapists, including Young, will ever be allowed to volunteer at the center).

The Dallas County district attorney has petitioned for a new judge to reconsider the terms and conditions of Young's probation.

Read more about the trial and the protests it has sparked after the jump.

Before officially recusing herself from the trial, Judge Jeanine Howard spoke to the Dallas Morning News about her decision to forgo a prison sentence for Young, claiming that this is "one of those [rape cases] that deserve[s] probation."

Howard said she made her decision for several reasons, including: The girl had texted Young asking him to spend time with her; the girl had agreed to have sex with him but just didn't want to at school; medical records show the girl had three sexual partners and had given birth to a baby; and Young was barely 18 at the time.

"She wasn't the victim she claimed to be," Howard said. "He is not your typical sex offender."

Craig Watkins, the Dallas County DA, disagrees. Watkins told the AP, "The judge basically blamed the victim for what happened to her."

He also expressed concern that other sexual assault victims may see Howard's comments as a reason to not come forward, fearing mishandling of a trial and public shaming. Even before Howard spoke to the Dallas Morning News, the victim said that "it would have been better for me not to say anything."

Sexually active people can be raped, and any reason that a person gives is a good enough reason to not have sex. It seems like a simple concept, one that even the perpetrator understood: "I hate to have this on my plate, but that's rape," he told police.

Unfortunately, it is not a concept that some of society's most trusted arbiters of justice have mastered yet.

Texans are now petitioning the Texas Legislature and Rick Perry to remove Jeanine Howard from the bench. The petition has collected nearly 500 signatures.

Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.

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