Disheartening to say the least.
John R.K. Howard, the white Idaho high school football player who sexually assaulted his Black, mentally-disabled teammate in an egregious October 2015 incident, was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge Friday, as reported by the Washington Post. What's worse is the sex crime charges against him were dropped.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Howard, 19, will receive two to three years of probation and up to 300 hours of community service, with a judge slated to rule on the final sentence in February, as reported by the local Twin Falls Times-News.
Howard and two Dietrich High School teammates allegedly held the victim, while shoving a coat hanger into his rectum and kicking the hanger numerous times. The other two students were charged in juvenile court. The teenage victim, whose name hasn't been released, was also racially abused, being called the N-word and disgusting names such as "chicken eater," "watermelon" and "Kool-Aid," as detailed in the victim's family's $10 million lawsuit against the high school.
"It’s absolutely preposterous that this kid should walk away with apparently no punishment whatsoever,” the victim's family attorney, R. Keith Roark, said of Howard on Monday, as reported by the Washington Post. “Everyone is more concerned with these young sociopaths than the victim of their violence.”
Shockingly, Deputy State Attorney General Casey Hemmer didn't find Howard to be guilty of a sex crime.
“Based on continuing investigation throughout this case — interviewing of witnesses, speaking with the victim and getting a better picture of what happened in this case — the state believes this is the appropriate charge,” Hemmer said, as reported by the Times-News. “It was egregious behavior, it caused this victim a lot of suffering, but it is not, in my view, a sex crime, which is why the state has amended this charge. We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Mr. Howard to suffer the consequences of a sex offender, but he still needs to be held accountable.”
How is shoving a coat hanger in a mentally-disabled teammate's rectum not a sex crime?
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(Photo: Tarrant County Police Department)
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