Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rapist's One Mistake Was Drinking?

Many people blogged about Saint Paul rape case last August because the assault happened in an apartment building hallway and it was largely ignored until someone called the police about a fight and the police interrupted the assault in progress. Because someone did call the police, I thought the comparison to the Kitty Genovese murder was incorrect or at least premature.

The man caught in the act by the police has been sentenced. Here's information from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

A St. Paul man convicted of raping a woman in an apartment hallway last summer -- while onlookers peered out doors but didn't stop him -- was sentenced today to 12 years in prison.

Rage Ibrahim, 26, has lived a tragic life, said Ramsey County District Judge Michael Fetsch, having reportedly witnessed the murders of his father and two brothers while growing up in Somalia. But, he said, "the present facts are another tragedy."

Witnessing family members being murdered is a tragedy, being sentenced for raping a woman is NOT another tragedy, it is accountability. His sentence followed state sentencing guidelines while the defense wanted Ibrahim to have probation and counseling only because his productive life was derailed by alcohol abuse and a prison sentence would further derail his life.

What this explanation does is communicate that this man felt justified in taking his frustrations out on a woman and that the criminal justice should support that action by letting him off as if he were charged with a crime no more serious than public drunkenness.

Ibrahim, sobbing, told the judge: "One wrong choice to consume alcohol has cost me." He added that he was haunted by what had happened in the hallway, and that he hoped one day to ask the victim in person to forgive him.

The choice he made which resulted in this conviction is not the choice to consume alcohol. If this man had any openness to taking accountability for his actions, he would be haunted by what he did in that hallway.

The victim was not in the courtroom, and did not offer a written statement. [Prosecutor] Gerber said the woman was being shunned by the Somali community.

While the onlookers who claimed to not know that a sexual assault was in progress can claim ignorance, shunning a victim communicates a position where the only ignorance is a willful ignorance.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:59 AM   0 comments links to this post


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