From Adelaide Now we get a report about a judge's decision to suspend a man's 2 year jail sentence.
In sentencing, Judge Wayne Chivell said Hean had met his now-former girlfriend in March 2007. She was 12 years old at the time, but lied and said she was 16 – Hean, who was 24, lied and said he was 20.
"When you learned she was 12, you continued to have a sexual relationship with her," Judge Chivell said. "By that time, you say you were in love with her, and somehow convinced yourself it was appropriate to continue.
"That was immature and irresponsible on your part, but I accept that you were not acting as a predator."
This acceptance by Judge Chivell is incorrect even if Jarred Hean did assume that a 12-year-old girl was 16 and not in fact half his age until the court informed him of her age and ordered him to stay away from her. A legal order he willfully disregarded 9 times.
A 24 year old man who lies about his age in order to date a minor has the responsibility of being an adult and his lie therefore has greater legal meaning than a lie told by a child who wished to be seen as a teenager.
These 2 lies do not cancel each other out.
It is much more likely that this child believed the lie from an adult than it is that this adult actually believed the lie of a child about her age.
A child's detectable but deliberately unacknowledged lie can be a motivator for someone who wants to break the law since that lie can be used to excuse inexcusable behavior.
The child's lie can be used to get a judge to do what this judge did. Pat a sex criminal on the head as if he were 4 years old and caught stealing candy because his mom took him to the store on an empty stomach. "You're an immature and irresponsible little boy so we cannot hold you fully accountable. But let this be a lesson to you. And about those additional 9 visits to the store where you repeated the original crime ... I know how you love that store so I'll pretend they never happened."
Sorry, unless this 24-year-old man has proven cognitive problems which resulted in him having the reasoning skill of a 4 year old, this characterization by Judge Chivell is nonsense.
When an adult who willfully lied to a child says to the child and/or the court that, "I was in love," with that child this should be viewed by the judge as a likely lie which allowed this man to rationalize his criminal actions.
Predators don't only come with stereotypical sadism. Many of them come as people who seem like they can be trusted completely. When the predator's actions bring chaos upon discovery, the predator is likely to falsely position himself or herself as the victim's only ally.
You and me against a world which just doesn't understand true love.
It's one thing to understand how a child can be suckered by this story, but it's inexcusable when adults who are supposed to be experts accept this story.
My rapist said repeatedly that he loved me and he used love as his justification for forcing himself on me twice. That means I know exactly how much a declaration of love means when it comes from someone who committed multiple sex crimes. It doesn't mean squat.
The actual harm done by this judge to the victim will be long lasting.
To excuse this criminal from full accountability, the judge had to nullify the reality that this girl was deliberately sexually exploited by an adult. This nullification then allows victims blamers to label this child as a lying tramp whose lie caused an innocent man to technically be a criminal.
My rapist's actions and this man's actions disprove their declarations of love. A man who genuinely loves a girl would not do what this man has done. Rape is not an act of love.
The judge said this man is unlikely to offend again, but I disagree. This crime is a reflection of this man's character and that character isn't likely to change when the severity of the crime has been so severely diminished by the court.
With the judge buying or excusing this man's lies, I have to wonder what other lies Hean told the court. The assumption that there was no force or coercion is one that is seriously in doubt. Also in doubt is whether this was Hean's first sexual "relationship" as he claimed.
From ABC Australia:
Judge Wayne Chivell said it was an unusual case because it was clear the girl was highly sexualised before the pair had met and an enthusiastic participant in the relationship.
This is not unusual, it is classic victim blaming and rape denial.
It positions the 12-year-old victim as the sexual predator who targeted a lonely adult virgin who would never willingly commit a sex crime. This judge's assessments about the defendant's acknowledged actions are so inaccurate that I cannot assume anything about this girl's behavior or history based on this description.
No matter what the truth about that girl are none of it changes the reality that this man made the choice to lie to a child and then made multiple choices to commit sex crimes.
If the man's claim of being a virgin before these crimes started was true that only shows that he was unable or unwilling to have a fully mutual sexual relationship free from all exploitation. That's not a good predictor of future legal and non-exploitative sexual behavior.
Appropriate social skills where personal and legal boundaries are understood and respected are critical to preventing reoffending. Blaming the victim for the adult's decision to disregard both of the these boundaries does nothing to help an offender understand that this was not a victimless crime.
The excuses from the offender in this case reminds me of another sex offender, Janelle Bird, who was also 24, and a virgin, when she first broke the law with her consensual "relationship" with a 15-year-old boy she met as a teacher at a Christian school and then tutored in algebra. She too described her criminal actions as motivated by love. She was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
An adult feeling no more mature than a child must never be a valid excuse or defense.
I suspect when Bird was sentenced that many people assumed that if the defendant was a male 24-year-old virgin that he would always get a harsher sentence because women sex offenders are always viewed more sympathetically by the courts. Obviously, that assumption was false.
Judges and juries can buy into victim blaming and crime nullification irregardless of the criminal's gender.
Unlike Hean, Bird's 2 year sentence given in 2006 wasn't immediately suspended. Doing a quick search I couldn't find how much prison time she actually served to date either due to time reduced for good behavior or because of an appeal.
Both of these sex offenders deserved prison time and both should be viewed as having the potential to reoffend if they get the opportunity.
Hat tip: The Curvature