The Iowa judge who sentenced a teenager who admitted to being filmed having sex with a toddler is facing calls for his removal from the bench, the Washington Post is reporting. Meanwhile, lawyers for the now-19-year-old man say the media has been spreading “grossly inaccurate” information about the case.
Last week, the Inquisitr reported on the case of Kraigen Grooms who, as a teenager, had been filmed having some sort of sexual relations with a 1-year-old child. The assault happened at a home in Ottumwa and was recorded by a man in New Orleans who was watching the assault remotely on his computer.
— DJV Show (@DJVShow) September 19, 2016
The assault happened in 2013 when Grooms was 16. When authorities became aware of a child pornography video of the assault, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asked for the public’s help in identifying Grooms. Thanks to the help of social media, he was eventually identified and captured.
Last week, Wapello County judge Randy Degeest sentenced now 19-year-old Kraigen Grooms to a 10-year suspended prison sentence after accepting his plea of guilty to one count of engaging in a lascivious act with a child. He will be required to register as a sex offender for life.
The seemingly light sentence has not sat well with observers, who believe the so-called “toddler rapist” deserves more prison time.
Already, a petition has appeared on the White House’s website calling for the judge who handed down the sentence to be permanently removed from the bench.
“After raping a 2 year old child on video, and targeting a 3 year old child for the same abuse, Kraigen Grooms, 16 at the time of the crime, 17 at the time of arrest, only received 2 years in a juvenile detention and then the Wapello county jail, then Judge Randy Degeest released Grooms with a 10 year suspended sentence. This judge is sympathizing with a toddler rapist, this not the kind of corrupt judge we want or need. If he will not stand up for a toddler, who will he stand for?”
A similar petition, this time directed at Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, also calls for Degeest’s removal from the bench.
— Des Moines Daily (@desmoinesdaily) September 19, 2016
As it turns out, things in the Kraigen Grooms case are not as cut-and-dry as the media and news readers would like it to be, says Wapello County Attorney Gary Oldenburger in a lengthy statement issued last week.
First, the crime committed against the child by Grooms was not an act of rape, as the Inquisitr, as well as other sources, including Raw Story, initially reported. Rather, he says, Grooms was masturbating in the video but did not penetrate the victim sexually, nor did he abuse or harm him or her in any way. Further, Oldenburger says that Grooms was duped into committing the sex act by child pornographers in Ireland and New Orleans, one of whom was pretending to be a teenage girl.
Further, says Oldenburger, several factors came into play when handing out the seemingly light sentence.
“While it is easy for the outside observer to advocate a hard-line stance that every sexual offense against a minor should result in a long prison sentence, anyone who actually deals with these situations knows that each case is unique and every case must be handled on its own merits.”
Specifically, says Oldenburger, the mother of the victim, whom Oldenburger says works with juvenile sex offenders, felt that Grooms would be better served by treatment rather than a long prison sentence.
“While the Wapello County Attorney’s Office does not allow victims to dictate how we prosecute a case, the victim’s concerns and desires are taken into consideration in every case.”
Kraigen Grooms, for his part, is not exactly a free man. He will still be on probation for five years and will be required to be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.
Do you still believe that the Iowa judge who sentenced Kraigen Grooms to a seemingly light sentence should be removed from the bench?
[Featured Image by Wapello County Jail]