State District Judge Jeanine Howard quickly backtracked on her sentencing of a convicted rapist to volunteer at a rape crisis center after we called her office last week to ask what would happen if no rape crisis center wanted to accept him. "She's going go back and modify those conditions and give him community service hours somewhere else, but she hasn't determined where yet," her court coordinator had said.
Even with that change, Howard's sentencing of Sir Young, 20, still angered the victim's family and rape victim advocates. Young, who was 18 at the time and a student at Booker T. Washington High School, had confessed to having non-consensual sex with a 14-year-old classmate. In testimonies, both Young and the victim said that she had told him "no"and asked him to stop, meaning this wasn't just a case of the state getting overly aggressive over a statutory rape as some on Reddit have suggested.
In addition to the community service, Howard sentenced Young to 45 days of jail and five years of probation. "I don't think it's going to be a deterrent to other criminals," said Bobbie Villareal, the Executive Director of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, who was disappointed in the ruling. "If anything I think it's a a deterrent to have survivors report their crimes and continue with the criminal justice system."
Howard's sentence had at least originally required Young to register as a sex offender. But then, at the end of last month, she lifted that requirement, too. So why the easy sentence for someone who confessed to a forcible rape? Howard wouldn't comment to us about it when we asked last week but told the Dallas Morning News that the girl wasn't the "victim she claimed to be" because she wasn't a virgin and had already planned on having sex with Young, just not at school, where the rape occurred. She also said the girl had a baby. Somehow, Dallas has elected a judge into office who thinks only virgins not interested in having sex can get raped. Shortly after giving that interview, Howard recused herself from the case and the girl's mother said she would file a complaint.
On Thursday morning, the new judge on the case agreed to toughen Young's terms of probation. In a sentencing hearing, Judge Carter Thompson ruled that Young will now have to register as a sex offender. Terms of the sex offender registration include undergoing mental evaluations, staying away from playgrounds and other spots where children are and being banned from any sort of pornography.
But Young won't be serving more time in jail. It's still just going to be the 45 days. In a press conference after the trial, District Attorney Craig Watkins told a crowd of reporters that the state asked for 10 years in prison under the last judge. But since Judge Howard had sentenced him to probation, Watkins says the new judge couldn't add a longer prison sentence. "No, that was not possible," Watkins said.
The girl's mother, who agreed to give a short interview with reporters after yesterday's sentencing on the condition she not be identified, says that her daughter is recovering and staying focused on school and dancing. Her classmates haven't found out that she's the victim in the case. "No one really knows. We've been careful to protect her identity, even though she feels that the world can see her," her mother said. And not that it affects the legitimacy her rape-victim status, but the mother added that her daughter doesn't have a baby, as the judge had told the News. She says the judge misread her daughter's medical records. "I simply asked the doctor would she be able to [have children], and that was what she played off of."