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Outrage as US judge opts not to jail father who raped his 12-year-old daughter

23-Oct-2016 :

Helena, Montana: A judge’s decision not to order prison time for a Montana man who raped his 12-year-old daughter has sparked outrage from afar and calls closer to home to toughen the state’s law, which allows such lenience in certain circumstances.


Enacted in a wave of similar legislation around the country after the killing of a 9-year-old Florida girl in 2005, the Montana statute requires a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison for anyone convicted of rape, incest or sexual abuse of a child 12 or younger.


But unlike many of those other laws, Montana’s also allows judges to dole out far less severe punishment in a case where a court-appointed evaluator determines that ordering treatment outside prison “affords a better opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender and for the ultimate protection of the victim and society.”


District Judge John McKeon, who oversees a three-county area of eastern Montana, cited that exception this month when he gave the father a 30-year suspended sentence after his guilty plea to incest and ordered him to spend 60 days in jail over the next six months, giving him credit for the 17 days already served. His sentence requires him to undergo sex offender treatment and includes many other restrictions.


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