I think that we can all agree that child rapists deserve a harsh punishment, like being locked away in prison for the rest of their lives (at the least). Bucking the trend of all right-thinking humans who believe in a basic standard of morality, a prosecutor in Oklahoma agreed to a deal that allowed a confessed child rapist to escape a prison sentence. Thankfully, that prosecutor has now resigned.
Benjamin Petty confessed that while working as a cook at a church camp he forced a 13-year-old girl into his cabin, tied her face down to his bed, raped and sodomized her, and then threatened to hurt her if she told anyone.
According to an article posted on Patch, “Petty received a suspended sentence on Jan. 19. He agreed to plead guilty to felonious first-degree rape, forcible sodomy and rape by instrumentation, and was ordered to serve 15 years of probation. Petty must wear an ankle monitor for two years and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, media outlets said.”
The prosecutor used the child rapist’s blindness as the excuse for why he didn’t insist that the Oklahoma justice system throw the book at Petty.
Allowing a violent criminal escape justice because he’s blind is abhorrent. Murray County, Oklahoma’s, district attorney Craig Ladd agrees. While announcing the resignation of assistant district attorney David Pyle, Ladd stated, “I want it to be known that I strongly disagree with the lenient manner in which the Benjamin Petty case in Murray County was prosecuted in many respects. The manner in which that case was prosecuted does not reflect my thoughts or position on how rapists, especially those who prey on children, should be dealt with in the criminal justice system.”
Shortly after the announcement that Petty wouldn’t be serving any prison time, Pyle defended his decision in a statement: “The big thing is Mr. Petty is legally blind and the parents (of the victim) live out of state and this little girl lives out of state and didn’t want to make all the travels back and forth,” Pyle told The Oklahoman. “The plea was negotiated with their permission.”
However, according to the attorney for the victim’s parents, they only agreed to the deal because they were told that Petty would never serve any meaningful jail time because of his disability. It appears that they reason Petty wasn’t facing any meaningful jail time was because David Pyle doesn’t believe that being a child rapist warrants a harsh punishment.