Your May 23 article “Teacher pleads guilty in the rape of teen” (multiple editions) contains the opinion of Parents for Megan’s Law Executive Director Laura Ahearn that the sentence to be imposed on the defendant “sends a message of tolerance, not a stark message of deterrence.”
To the contrary, under the facts of this case, the sentence to be imposed is both appropriate and just.
Testifying in open court can be a traumatic experience for any crime victim — but especially for a young child who, as in this case, would have had to testify about that which occurred in the presence of her abuser. In pleading guilty to the top count against him, second-degree rape, and waiving his right to appeal, we ensured that the defendant stands convicted of a Class D felony and will serve a period of six months’ incarceration. But, more important, we spared the victim the ordeal of having to recount her abuse at trial. Moreover, had the defendant been convicted of the top count at trial, he could have been sentenced to less than a year in jail at the discretion of the court.
Beyond that, with this conviction the defendant has given up his license to teach, is a convicted sex offender, must register as one with New York State and must complete a sex offender treatment program. If he fails to comply with any of the conditions to be imposed, he can be re-sentenced. Additionally, he will remain on probation for 10 years.
Finally, the guilty plea was negotiated with the full support and encouragement of the victim and her family as she tries to move past these traumatic events and rebuild her life.