Rapist sentenced to do community service at a rape crisis center

dallas county rape crisis center

Seriously? Who actually thought that would be a good idea? Well, apparently Dallas County District Judge Jeanine Howard did:

A Texas judge who ordered a rapist to serve community service at a rape crisis center has been forced to reconsider the sentence.

[...] According to The Dallas Observer, Young could have served 20 years in jail, but Dallas County District Judge Jeanine Howard showed him leniency during last week’s sentencing.

Howard ruled that Young would only have to spend 45 days in jail, but it was the “250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center” that shocked victim advocates.

“I’m sure she probably thought that it was his way of giving back perhaps,” Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Bobbie Villareal told WFAA. “But it’s just not an appropriate place for him to do his community supervision,”

“There’s just so many problems with that,” she pointed out. “First of all, we would worry about our client safety and well-being, the appropriateness of them having any kind of contact with survivors — even if it was a past victimization. Just having a criminal defendant in the office could be a triggering effect for many of our clients.”

Look, in theory, I’m in favor of a justice system that offers some hope of rehabilitation, and being forced to face and understand the effect of your actions on others seems far more likely to be transformative than being locked up in jail for a long time (or, ya know, not that long, as the case may be — sadly, the short jail time is so typical, it’s hardly even newsworthy.)

But you know who shouldn’t be asked to play teacher in a rapist’s potential learning experience? Unsuspecting survivors who never signed up for the job. Ever, but especially when they are currently in crisis and seeking a safe space to do their own healing. For fuck’s sake.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted May 2, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    lord knows I wanted the person who murdered my family members to do the eulogy at their funeral

  2. Posted May 2, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    This has to be one of the worst things I’ve heard about the justice system! For one, to only give a rapist 45 days in jail is ridiculous and is a reason why there are so many criminals. That poor girl will have to live with that for the rest of her life and he gets 45 days in jail (a slap on the wrist)?? So pathetic! And then to sentence him to do community service at a rape crisis center? why don’t we start sending child molesters to elementary schools too… So stupid and very inconsiderate!

  3. Posted May 2, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    So I get the intent, and totally agree that unsuspecting survivors of rape should not be tasked with rehabilitating a former rapist. But – do we have any idea of what his duties would have been at said rape crisis center? Surely this person wouldn’t be called upon to do any actual counseling. Even if his job was just administering intake forms or setting up and breaking down support group circles, the judge’s intent might actually be worth considering – obviously, he’d need to be supervised, like, ALL THE F**KING TIME, which may not be feasible. I agree that, at first read, it sounds pretty awful, but I think I want more facts before declaring this judge to be an insensitive moron.

  4. Posted May 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    For fuck’s sake indeed. If this pans out, at least a lot of envelopes can get stuffed in those 250 hours for the center’s outreach and fundraising initiatives.

  5. K
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that’s ridiculous! I can’t believe that the judge believed this was okay. I suppose I understand where she was coming from by making him help the people that were hurt in the way that he was responsible for… But while this method may work and make sense for a litterer whose sentence is to clean the streets, it’s not exactly the same for VICTIMS to have to be around a CONVICTED RAPIST. The very representation of whomever they are recovering from. Very wrong, and unfortunate for those victims.

  6. Posted May 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    what was this judge thinking?! Did she even think of how the victims would react to this,or did she think at all? This is a serious crime and it looks like she thought of it as a bad ironic joke. Where is the justice in all of this The judge did not do the right thing

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