Judge Who 'Blamed' Rape Victim Recuses Herself

Jeanine Howard backs out of controversial case
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2014 3:45 PM CDT
Judge Who Blamed Rape Victim Recuses Herself

A Texas judge who sparked outrage by limiting the punishment of a rapist—and criticizing the man's 14-year-old victim—has recused herself from the case, the Dallas Morning News reports. State District Judge Jeanine Howard made no comment beyond what she said Thursday night (that the girl "wasn't the victim she claimed to be") but others had plenty to say. "I feel as if the judge blamed the victim, which is never appropriate in sexual assault cases," said District Attorney Craig Watkins, who wants the next judge to impose a harsher punishment on the rapist, Sir Young. As it stands, Young—who faced up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty last week—will serve only five years of deferred probation, meaning he'll have no criminal record if he meets all requirements, like spending 45 days in jail and serving 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center.

He will have to register as a sex offender for life, but Howard waved typical requirements for rapists, like going to sex offender treatment and staying away from children and pornography. Why? Because the victim apparently had previous sex partners and had agreed to sleep with Young, even though she said "no" and "stop" more than once during the rape. Critics say that federal law usually prohibits evidence of the victim's other sexual behavior, and now future rape victims may think twice about stepping forward. The victim herself was outraged: "It was a slap in the face," she told KHOU. "I thought I was going to get help. I thought that it would be taken care of, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore." (More rape stories.)

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