We can all agree Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, and everyone else at the Golden Globes last night did a fantastic job in delivering poignant and amazing speeches. Now, why can't we all agree that rape in any form should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law? David Becker (18) was found guilty on two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault after a house party last April. He was a senior at East Longmeadow High School.
Like Brock Turner, he was a "former star athlete," and, also like Brock Turner, that now does not matter. Why? Because David Becker is now a rapist.
But unlike Brock Turner, Becker will serve two years of probation for the crime he committed. Oh, and as long as he "complies with probation," his case will be dropped, it will not appear on his record, and he will not have to register as a sex offender.
Excuse me, what?
“The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience,” the lawyer said in court.
So...this 18-year-old rapes two women, apologizes to one of them in a text message, and will get nothing on his record if he behaves himself all because it would interfere with his college experience?
According to CNN, Becker was originally charged by the East Longmeadow Police Department, who then turned around and filed a complaint with the Hampden County District Attorney's Office.
"Becker and the two victims fell asleep in a friend's bedroom on the same bed after the party, according to the police report. The first victim left the room after being awakened by Becker 'with his fingers in her vagina' according to the police report. The second victim told [Officer] Ingalls that Becker touched her repeatedly during the night and she pushed his hands away each time, according to the report. She woke up to Becker digitally sexually assaulting her as well, according to the police report," writes Ellie Kaufman, CNN.
The police report only has Becker admitting to one charge of sexual assault, but, in court, he "did not plead guilty" to either count. Even though he did not plead guilty, prosecutors and the judge agreed "there were sufficient facts and evidence presented in the case to find him guilty of indecent assault and battery." This means the DA's office initial recommendation of jail time and registering as a sex offender is completely valid, but Judge Thomas Estes decided on probation.
Judge Estes ruled that the case should continue "without a finding for two years. During that time, Becker is to serve probation, remain drug and alcohol free, submit to an evaluation for sex offender treatment and stay away from the victims."
This also means he does not have to register as a sex offender.
According to CBS News, Becker had planned to spend his two year probation in Ohio. Unfortunately for him, his chosen University of Dayton reported Becker will not be a student at their school.
A small victory but hardly a ripple when you learn prosecutors wanted Becker to serve two years behind bars. Instead, he will be allowed to walk free as long as he stays "away from the two victims and ... [is not] using drugs or drinking alcohol."
Not only does the Hampden District Attorney's Office feel the case is "difficult ... to prosecute" but nearly every other news source is classifying Becker as a "former East Longmeadow" star athlete or student -- just like Brock Turner was a former star swimmer at Stanford -- as if their athletic achievements dwarf the fact they raped someone.
Prosecutors allowed David Becker to either plead down to lesser charges or "accept a plea of guilt for the lesser charges of indecent assault and battery instead of rape." If he had been found guilty of rape, Becker could have served up to 20 years behind bars. The DA's office, on the other hand, was prepared to push forward on the original charge of two counts of rape. Since neither side could decide on a compromise, they let the judge make the final call.
Since Judge Estes's ruling was made public, an online petition has circulated the internet, calling for his removal. According to CNN, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts District Courts Paul Dawley "declined a review" of Becker's case despite the online petition's 36,000 signatures (so far).
Chief Justice Dawley claims Becker's sentence is "within the lawful bounds established by the Legislature."
Massachusetts Governor's Councilor Michael Albano wrote to Chief Justice Dawley on August 23 in hopes he would review the case. Albano said he "noticed a few discrepancies" and told reporters he wanted "to make sure that judicial protocol was followed."
Albano also believes the DA's office "dismissed" the rape charges and only "retained" the indecent assault charge when recommending David Becker's two year sentence. In Massachusetts, rape carries a lifetime prison sentence.
"This would be comparable to a murder charge being reduced to assault and battery," Albano told CNN. "Murder is life imprisonment. Rape is life imprisonment."
But according to the DA, David Becker "admitted guilt through evidence" and, based on that evidence and his testimony, they felt his case "fell more in line" with the lesser charges.
Although the DA's office said they reached out to the victims for comment, and one did give a victim impact statement, that statement was not made available in court documents.
Albano says he plans to meet Chief Justice Dawley in person to see if anything more can be done for these girls.