More than 16,000 outraged people have signed a Change.org petition to impeach a Montana judge who gave a two-month sentence to a father who raped his 12-year-old daughter repeatedly, The Christian Monitor is reporting.
Montana District Judge John McKeon handed the shocking 60-day sentence to child rapist, Martin Joseph Blake who had pleaded guilty to the crime. According to state law for child incest cases, the 40-year-old should have served a compulsory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. Blake was originally facing 100 years for three different rape charges, but had 75 years dismissed in a plea deal.
McKeon punished Blake with 60 days in jail and a suspended 30-year prison term. A term the man who violated his daughter would not have to serve if he completes his probation without any complications.
Many people had been outraged by the lenient sentencing especially in the light of similar sentences in sexual assault cases. The same level of leniency was showed against Brock Turner who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman. The former Stanford student was given a six-month jail sentence, but was out in 90 days.
Among some of Blake’s probation conditions includes registering as a sex offender, having restricted access to the Internet and pornography prohibition. Judge John McKeon had called the conditions rigorous and even given the convicted rapist credit for the 17 days he had already spent in jail, meaning he would only spend 43 days before he is released.
In most controversial cases, judges have preferred to remain silent when they have passed unpopular judgments. Surprisingly, McKeon has preferred to defend Martin Joseph Blake in public. In a statement, the judge gave several reasons why he handed the incestuous father a light sentence.
The judge argued that news media outlets failed to mention a caveat in the compulsory 25-year prison sentence. According to McKeon, state law affords those arrested for incest involving individuals under 12 years old the opportunity to avoid prison if a psychosexual evaluation can help determine if psychiatric treatment would be required.
The judge also referenced letters written by the victim’s mother and grandmother who requested for Martin Joseph Blake not to be sent to prison. The mother of the 12-year-old girl had actually walked in on her husband sexually assaulting her daughter, but wrote that the sons adored their father and she wanted the kids to “have an opportunity to heal the relationship with their father.”
The girl’s grandmother had reiterated that her son’s behavior was horrible, but again made the case that his sons would be “devastated if their Dad is no longer part of their lives.”
Attorney Dylan Jensen said it was pitiful that no one spoke on behalf of the young girl. The members of the young girl’s family had declined to testify
“No one spoke on behalf of the 12-year-old girl at trial. No one. The victim was not given justice, but instead will have to live with the fear that she still has to face her rapist in their community.”
The shoddy handling of the case led to a petition to impeach the judge.
McKeon has served as a judge for 22 years and is due to retire next month. The organizers of the Change.org petition know that may not be able to get enough signatures in time to lodge impeachment proceedings with the House of Representatives and are therefore trying to stop his financial entitlements upon retirement.
The petitioners, led by Madeline Forman said the soon-to-retired judge was elected to serve and protect the defenseless, but had ended up making a horrible mess of things.
“Mr McKeon is just one of many judges who have been caught handing down light sentences to rapists. 60 days in prison with a suspended 30 year sentence does not match the crime and fails to acknowledge the horrors the victim had to endure…the victim only had the justice system on her side, and it failed her.”
[Featured Image by Montana Valley County Police Department]