I started out today to write about Pope Francis and his blast on runaway capitalism but before I could sit to my computer I got a petition request. Please sign this petition to send this man to jail. Austin Smith Clem is the Alabama man accused and found guilty of rape not once, not twice but three times against the same victim. She was 13 for the first and second assaults and 16 at the last. He’s not going to jail! WTF He’s being sent to a program for non-violent offenders. Since when did rape become classified as a non-violent crime?
How did this happen? Interestingly the perp and the judge are childhood friends. The judge says he is ordering clemency because this child molester (victim was below the age of consent. I think we can reasonably label him a Chester) has three daughters. I don’t know what his wife is thinking but I would be ready to escort him to the hoosegow myself. I’m not too sure I would want him around my daughters either.
The defense attorney argued that “there was no evidence of assault and characterized the victim as a "scorned woman." I feel sick. No place in this country considers a thirteen year old a woman, maybe in some cultures this could be argued but not in the USA. Unrequited love is not brought before a jury and tried as a crime. So we are supposed to believe that the jury was just picking on Clem when they found him guilty of rape. Since this is just a case of a “scorned woman” than the judge shouldn't have ordered any type of punishment and just chucked out the verdict but he did hit Clem with some consequences for his behavior. Clem was ordered to pay $1,631 in restitution, to stay away from the victim and her family, to register as a sex offender, and to complete counseling. Wow the cost of having your childhood and innocence terminated now has a dollar amount, $1,631.
I've seen tragedies similar to this but not quite like this. Several years ago I found out that a young girl, an acquaintance of our family was being molested by her mother’s forty year old boyfriend. The victim was sixteen when I found out but twelve when it started. Her younger brother had observed his sister being removed from her bedroom on many nights. I encouraged them to testify. My family went with brother and sister to court. We heard them testify to being plied with alcohol and the girl being serially molested. The defense attorney vilified the child. She consumed the beer she was offered. It was her fault. We couldn't believe that the judge let this animal walk free. That was disappointing but the true tragedy was the result of the decision on our friend. She trusted no one. She had no sense of self-worth. There was nothing we could say or do. I wish I could say that she was able to right her course but that was not the case.
The decision made by the judge to negate the normal sentencing for rape and to allow this man to walk after the jury decided his guilt has to be more devastating to the victim and her family. My heart goes out to them. Of course I signed the petition and pray that Clem will really pay for his crime. Unfortunately it seems the American justice system is even more askew than we thought. Just look at the Trayvon decision. Just look at the fact that one in every three African American males are incarcerated, jailed at a much higher rate than whites accused of the same crimes. It appears that minorities and women, even underage girls have no real rights in these United States! For shame.