Thomas Boden was convicted of sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl so violently that the girl bled profusely, but a District Attorney just let the 29-year-old walk free without serving any jail time.
The case has sparked controversy in San Angelo, Texas, where Boden just accepted a plea bargain for the crime. After initially being indicted in April for one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child sexual contact, Boden took a deal that dropped both charges in favor of a guilty plea for first-degree felony injury to a child with serious injury.
San Angelo Live reported that sentence came with 10 years deferred adjudication probation --- meaning Thomas Boden won't serve a day in jail.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Ferguson defended the decision to offer a plea deal, saying it would be too difficult to put the victim on the stand and too risky not to get some kind of punishment.
"In this case, we were dealing with a child who was 2 years old at the time of the offense, no adult witnesses, but serious injuries," Ferguson said in an email. "When we were looking at our options, my primary concern was for the best interest of the child, including considering what going through the rigors of trial preparation and testimony in front of a jury would be like for a toddler. In addition, I had to consider the very real possibility that if the child was unable to testify, the defendant would simply go home with no consequences."
Police first learned of the disturbing abuse on New Year's Day, when Boden and a woman got into an argument and police were called. As police were talking to Boden, the woman changed her 2-year-old daughter's diaper and found a large amount of blood.
A medical exam determined that the girl had a laceration that indicated "a recent penetrative trauma," one that was too severe to have been caused by an accident or by the girl herself. Boden was arrested for the assault.
The case has generated quite a controversy in the San Angelo area, and this week a group of residents protested outside the courthouse. The group of about 200 people held signs calling for justice and representatives of different anti-violence groups made speeches, the San Angelo Standard-Times reported.
Thomas Boden was scheduled to go on trail in October. He would have faced up to 99 years in prison if convicted.
[Picture by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]