23 "Does One Punishment Fit All Crimes?"

Don't make these mistakes and end up here.
Don't make these mistakes and end up here.

Short version of a long story

Does One Punishment Fit All Crimes?

I realize there are going to be a lot of different opinions on this article. Then again, I could be wrong. I personally am somewhat torn with my opinion because I have a 2 daughters, 3 grand daughters and 3 great-grand daughters and the man I am going to talk about is someone very close to me. I can’t imagine any of this happening with any of the “daughters” of mine and if it did I can’t imagine how I would react.

I have heard of a case where one offender had an affair with one of his 13 year old students and spent only 9 months in county jail. Then there was an offender that molested kids in a day care center where he worked and he did no prison or jail time at all. These were state level crimes and punished as such. The case I am going to talk about ended up as a federal crime because it started on the Internet and actually crossed state lines. The federal government has harsher punishments as you will see.

As this story unfolds, it starts out as innocent as you reading this article on this hub. I will refer to the man as JD all through the story. I will explain how this all went down without getting graphic or going into excessive detail. I will leave some to your imagination. Then after reading this you can comment on whether you feel he should have had the punishment he received compared to the two offenders I mentioned in paragraph 2. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending JD, he did deserve a punishment, but so did the other two. As a matter of fact, my opinion, they deserved even more and I feel JD’s was maybe a little more harsh than needed considering it was his first time of anything on his record. No one should go un-punished for any kind of sexual assault, even with consent if they are under age.

This story starts innocently at the keyboard of JD’s computer. He had met the first girl on a website (which I won’t name) offering to teach anyone general meditation. Before their first meditation together she e-mailed him a picture of herself telling him it was from her senior prom from about a year earlier. He took her through some relaxation exercises and then tested her suggestibility by asking her if she could feel him holding her hand. She told him she could. He told her he was holding her left hand. Now, the strange thing is, this hand had no fingers, only a thumb and that was the cause of a birth defect. But she said she could feel him holding that hand. After the first meditation he invited her to join him on a psychic site (again, no name of the site) and she did.

For the record, I have a full version of this story, but I am going to keep this as short as possible for the hub.

At this time I need to point out a fact about something in JD’s past. JD actually got his start with the meditation idea a few years earlier. He had a bad case of “night terrors” and he was helped a lot through a meditation program. Just so you have an idea why he was on a site offering to help people with this meditation program. He believed he could really help people because someone was able to help him.

OK, now back to the story.

The girl’s family was a member of a respected religious sect, respected by most anyway. She had 5 mothers and 30 plus siblings and one dad. JD was intrigued by this different lifestyle and the two of them talked quite extensively about it.

She moved to another state to be with her boyfriend and JD didn’t hear from her for 4 months. She informed JD that she broke up with her boyfriend over two items and moved back home. 1. The boyfriend was talking about living the polygamist lifestyle, which she wanted no part of. 2. The boyfriend stopped having sex with her.

This is when the conversations on the Internet began having sexual content. The two of them would share past sexual encounters and only because he knew she wasn’t innocent and after all, she was over 18. She kept telling JD that she and the boyfriend weren’t having sex and that she was really missing it. She and JD came to a point where they were having a combination “Psychic/Cyber sex”

Through this girl JD met another girl in another state who I will tell about later. As time went by she confessed a couple of things to JD. 1. She let him know that she was really only 17 (and later JD found out she was really only 16). 2. She was raped by an adult family friend in the church conference room.

JD went to visit her and knowing she was uncomfortable because of the rape not too long before he was on his best behavior. Then after the visit, because of a misunderstanding, they drifted apart.

This is when JD got closer with girl number 2.

JD and this girl had several phone conversations that included sexual content and it actually became a regular topic between the two of them. For a long time everything was on the phone or the Internet e-mail. When they first came in contact through girl #1 she had informed him that she was 19 years of age. After they had become deep in their talks about sex and their activities over the phone and Internet she dropped it on him that she had lied about her age. She was actually only 16. He made the mistake of telling her that it was OK because he really liked her and didn’t want to lose her friendship and they continued as before. (Note: in my opinion, that’s where he should have called it quits. Actually, in his book too. He knows that’s where he made his mistake. But you know what they say about hindsight?)

She would share all of her life stories with JD and tell him everything that had happened to her and share things as they happened along the way. She told JD that she had been molested by her father. She didn’t tell him that until later. She would always say there was something she wanted to tell him and then she finally told him what had happened. She also told him about the times she was drugged by her boyfriend and he filmed his friends having their way with her. Then he showed her the video the next day. In other words, she was abused long before JD ever came along. Her abuse started even before she was 12.

To shorten the story, JD made a further mistake by traveling to her state & town and they got together for a sexual encounter. Then there was a second time and the girl’s mother found out. She called the police, they contacted the FBI and after a lengthy investigation they arrested JD.

JD’s punishment was 51 months in a federal prison and is now on 5 years strict probation. To me, that seems very harsh for what he did considering the circumstances of both girls. And then they were never forced to participate in anything. I know, it doesn’t make it right, but it totally ruined his life and then the other 2 that I mentioned got nothing.

Just in case you’re interested, I have the whole story of this case.

Greg

The girls, regardless of age.

Would you consider the two girls:

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Comments 33 comments

slusterbubble profile image

slusterbubble 5 years ago from Florida

Dear Greg, now that's one tough story to tell. Thumbs up for the delicacy and restraint of your description. Being "somewhat older" as it is called, I'm sometimes amazed at people's apparently profound interest in other people's sexual behavior. And most of the time I'm offended by the way this interest is exploited by the media. One reason could of course be age, and the diminishing physical fire, but remember the unending Tiger Woods saga... On the other hand, I firmly believe in the individual's right to decide his actions, as long as he doesn't impose on, hurt or coerce others. And there is the catch. By definition, laws are made to protect innocents. Unfortunately, the lawmakers are human, and what is far worse, they're politicians. What happens in the media is extremely important to them, usually not because of the issue itself, but more because of the media attention and the personal profile enhancement they can obtain, by taking the popular stand. That's why most of them are called "populists". So they jump on the band wagon, and produce unpractical laws such as for instance Prohibition. Another consideration is that most laws are out of date, and only very slow to adapt to the rapid changes in our quickly evolving society and mores. Finally, there is the important matter of hypocrisy, whereby for instance a spiritual leader or a politician heavily preaches against a particular "sin", and later gets caught himself with his pants down, if you'll forgive me the pun... The rather rigid legal system doesn't allow judges too much personal leeway, and they have to intervene according to the law. But also to the "feeling" of the moment, if they want to be reelected... I therefore think that personal consideration should moderate such difficult cases, in which every aspect is taken into account, and with the law as a guide, but not as a straight jacket. Which is a rather lengthy way to agree with you... Paul


JLSB profile image

JLSB 5 years ago

Greg this is a good question and it will be interesting to see what answers you get. Paul has a very good point and he said judges have to go by the law, but that is not always the case. Unless it is how the judge interperts the law. If judges went by the law the other two you spoke of would have been punished too. Wouldn't they.


Wintermyst profile image

Wintermyst 5 years ago

Well, of course the girls participated but I have to ask, how old is JD? I also want to make a remark to JLSB. Federal laws are different than state laws. Those other two were state crimes.

I can understand how unfair it seems for your friend to have gotten such a harsh sentence. Personally, I think the prison time given should be the same in every instance. As far as day care goes, I think those people need to be taken out of society all together. Maybe put on some kind of island.


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Paul, Thank you for the comment and taking the time to post it. I just feel that the punishment should fit the crime instead of how someone feels at that time and what kind of mood they are in or the politics behind the scene.

Hi JLSB, yes, unfortunately the laws are written in a way that they can interpreted in different ways and that's why they can be set according to the mood the judge is in at the tims.

Hi Winter myst, JD was 40 years old at the time. That is to old for him to have relations with girls of that age. The the is, the girls knew how old he was. The other thing is that when men marry girls with that difference in age, nobody says anything. In this case, it's not like the girls were innocent to begin with. They craved someone that would show them respect and consideration, which was exactly what JD was doing. Whether the laws are state or federal, they should get the same punishment and according to severity and ages of the minors. And I agree, the one involving the daycare should never see daylight again. And, there are a couple of other things that I feel should be done.

Thank all of you for your comments and whoever cast the vote. Greg


JLSB profile image

JLSB 5 years ago

A question. Why can a 16 year old be tried for murder as an adult and a 16 year old does not have to be responsible for saying yes to sex? Are either old enough to know what is going on?


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi JLSB, That is an excellant question. I would like to know the answer to that myself. If anyone can answer that, please comment so we can all know. Greg


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

gregas

The is clearly an example of the unfairness and the lack of justice in the laws.

Anytime there is consent in a crime that merely exists on the law books, it should be the bigger factor in determing justice.

The laws were made to protect the people from criminals that act with malice and disregard for other people.

What is even more of an example of the misapplication of the laws and punishment is when the same crime is held differently in different jurisdictions.

There should be a progression of punishment for any crime no matter where it occurs.

It needs to be progressive with the harm that a crime causes.

For example, A theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

The punishment is like night and day for the arrested or convicted person. A lot of this is prosecutorial discretion and the judge also has an avenue of discretion except in jurisdication that have hard rules on punishment.

The point is that the crime is the same but the punishment isn't.

Move up the example to homicide.

A person commits a robbery and intentionally kills the victim and several bystanders.

Compare that with someone that accidently gets drunk but not fallen down drunk. That person drives their car and it causes a fatality.

Depending on the jurisdiction, and its law pertaining to these incidents the punishments range widely.

In many cases the drunk driver is punished more severely than the armed robber murderer.

My point is that there has to be some logic in making punishment escalate but it should be tied to the act and not the jurisdiction.

Thanks.


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi OD, Thank you for the comment. I do appreciate the way you sorted things out somewhat. I just don't feel it's right. In the case of this guy, the girls weren't all that innocent and probably knew more about what they were doing than he did. Don't get me wrong. I feel he needed a punishment, but not his life ruined, which it has been. Especially for a first time offense. Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Greg


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

gregas

Thanks for bringing this issue out in your hub.


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

OD, As I said I have a longer version that is a lot more detailed. Greg


JLSB profile image

JLSB 5 years ago

OD you are so right that the laws should be the same where ever they are. And the punishment the same every where. I always felt that was the way it was. But it has gotten so bad that I wonder if anyone even knows the laws anymore, judges included.

One drunk driver can drive and get caught once and he is fined and put in jail, then the next one is caught 10 times and is still driving and drinking. Don't make sense.


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

JLSB

Yes, I agree. Also they prosecutors will spend the very limited time and resources on celebrities like Lindsay Lohan that could have been better used on hardened and dangerous criminals.

I did a hub on criminal justice because I just didn't like what I saw.

Thanks


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

Gregas

I look forward to reading the more detailed one.


Lyn.Stewart profile image

Lyn.Stewart 5 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

In New Zealand the age for consentual sex is 16 so if this had happened here the guy would have had nothing done to him as they are of age to decide who they wish to sleep with.

I didnt know the age overseas was higher than in N.Z so this has surprised me.

I agree there doesn't seam to be any rhyme nore reason (except maybe whether the judge is in a good or bad mood) to show why some people get nothing for their crimes and others have the preverbial book thrown at them.

Thank you for putting this out there.


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Lyn, Thank you for the comment. What I see in this case is that both girls were well experianced before he came along and were both more than willing. Again, thank you for joining my list of followers. Greg


MobyWho profile image

MobyWho 5 years ago from Burlington VT

The sad part is that "hindsight is..." It is so necessary to question our motives before we get involved in any relationship, be it online or in person. But for JD, it's too late for that. As for your question, I think you've demonstrated the answer is "no". I only hope that publicizing this example will alert readers to the consequences of their actions...first! Love the 100% participant response.


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Moby, thank you for the comment. You're right about "Hindsight". I know JD personally and I know that he didn't have any ill intentions when he did this. If I could publish the whole story it would explain in more detail. It gets a too little explicit for the hubs. And no, it's not me, just for the record. JD is out now and on parole and I have to say it is a very strict parole. Probably more strict than for a murderer on parole. I'm working on a hub for that too. Again, thank you. Greg


danfresnourban profile image

danfresnourban 5 years ago from Fresno, CA

This situation highlights one of the problems with the Federal Criminal Justice system. About 15 years ago, congress formed a committee to standardize the sentences in Federal criminal cases. People had been complaining that there was too much variation between cases.

They came up with a complicated system for sentencing. The system is basically harsh to start with, then additional time is added for the person's prior criminal history and other factors related to the crime. Every sense the system was in place, Judges have complained that they have little or no discretion in sentencing.

I agree with you and the judges, we put these judges in place because we trust their wisdom, and to use that wisdom to sentenced people according to the specific circumstances of each case. No two cases are the same, even when two people are charged with the same crime and they acted together, each of those people have different criminal histories and probably have a different level of participation and therefore they should get different sentences.

Sadly for your friend JD, he will also be branded as a sex offender. It can be miserable to carry that stigma, I hope he can be strong and endure. It will not be easy, good luck. Great hub btw


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Dan, thank you for the comment. FYI, JD is holding strong. He is really restricted in what he can and cannot do and has 3-1/2 years left on probation. He has to hold a job but he also has to inform the employer that he is a sex offender. It's tough on him to find work too because he isn't allowed to use the Internet either, which is now one of the best ways to find work. I am going to do a hub about what he is having to go through while on probation as soon as I get all of the facts. Again, thank you. Greg


MobyWho profile image

MobyWho 5 years ago from Burlington VT

Has he exhausted all means of appeal? Just asking.


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Moby, JD served 45 months in federal prison in New Mexico and is now out on 5 years probation. And, to me the things I have seen and heard about the rules and restrictions they have to follow are set so strict that it is no wonder some break them and end up back in prison. Thank you for the comment. Greg


WittyWeddings profile image

WittyWeddings 5 years ago from Kansas City, MO

I view the girls as being victims because even though they did willing have a sexual encounter they were victims in that they were so vulernable from their past abuses. JD shouldn't haven't taken advantage of girls that were in a situation where they were desperate for any attention and love. Though I do agree the punishment is much to harsh.


gregas profile image

gregas 5 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Witty, Thank you for the comment. You are right that JD shouldn't have taken advantage and he did deserve punishment, However, it should have been taken into consideration that this was the first thing in his life he was being punished for. He had no previous record. Also, upon finding out about the father and other boys involved, they should have faced some kind of punishment too. They never did. Again thank you for taking time to comment. Greg


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

This won't be popular, but in my mind, there is NO punishment serious enough for a violent sex offender or child molester. I feel JD was wrong in his behavior and showed extremely bad judgment. No child, and 16 is a child, should be acceptable to any grown man no matter how much she tries to entice him. I teach high school and I know how hard the girls try. While I don't see his act as violent in any way, nor deserving of what I think the violent rapist should get, it's still wrong and I can't condone it.

Personally, I think her parents deserve a much stiffer penalty than JD. The fact that her mother reported him is ironic to me for I don't believe for one second she didn't know about what her husband did. In the vast majority of such cases mom is aware and that to me makes her just as guilty. I know my views sound harsh. They are. This is a harsh and serious topic.

The recidivism rates for violent sex offenders are horrific and there is not one shred of documentation from any source outside the RCC to support the notion that therapy might help the offenders. With that being said, I further have issue with the terms sex offender and sexual assault. A sex offender can be an 18 year old who dates a 16 year old or a violent serial rapist preying on children. We need to get rid of all of these PC terms and call a spade a spade. I don't know the all the answers here but I do know incidents of sexual abuse on children are rising. Courts are not helping by allowing such things as the day care worker you mentioned to walk away. It's a sad commentary on humanity that such things as these sadistic crimes happen at all and just as bad that society tries to put a more palatable PC face on them and more so that we have yet to change said trend.

This was really interesting, disturbing, and highly thought provocative. I look forward to reading more from you.


gregas profile image

gregas 4 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Poetvix, Thank you for the follow, visit and more important, the extensive comment. I like your comment and I don't think your views are harsh. This is a very serious and terrible crime. And it is a crime. I don't condone what JD did either. He is on parol now and what he is having to deal with is almost as bad as the time he was in prison. He can't even touch a computer, let alone get on the Internet. He will be a registered sex affender for the rest of his life. I have learned a lot just by listening to him talk now. Anyway, thank you again. Greg.


lindsey 4 years ago

Very interesting. If you could, please email me the whole story please Gregas @lindseygirlhere@yahoo.com. I too was molested by my grandfather who took advantage of my young mind to make it look like he was helping me. It started with backrubs than a shower together to more. I would rather not say much about it in public. It almost sounds the same way here with a 40 year old man being all concerned with some stranger on the internet who happens to give her picture to him as well. He could have asked her for id before meditation. It sounds like these girls trusted him just like I trusted my grandfather, which led to molestation. Thanks


Virtual Treasures profile image

Virtual Treasures 4 years ago from Michigan

This story reminds me of the movie called Trust that came out in 2010. 14 year old Annie meets a 35-ish year old man online and has an affair. She is impressionable and believes this man loves her. It isn't until later when she finds out about other girls that she realizes she was raped.

A 40 year old man has a responsibility to society and should know when to back off. He willingly took on the chance of being punished when he engaged in this type of behavior. My step-son stole some small items from auto shop skill center program when he was 17. He was charged with a felony. In any other county, he probably wouldn't have been charged, or would have been charged with, at the most, a misdemeanor. He spent 8 weekends in jail. Unfortunately, he made a wrong choice and was severely punished, but ultimately he is the one who made the choice.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Unfortunately our laws vary so from state to state and of course state to federal. Your friend's mistake came with his personal encounters. If he had stuck to the Internet he would have been better off. Who's to say which sentence is the right one? Who's to say whether he would do it again given the opportunity? This is a very tough question to answer but I have to agree there needs to be more equity in the law.


gregas profile image

gregas 4 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Mary, Thank you. This particular one I have been close to and in touch with a lot since he was released 2 years ago. He is actually my nephew. I have been here in Colorado close to him. He has been on probation with 3 years left. He has been dealing with a lot of hardships because it is really hard for him to get a job. Luckily he has a lot of friends here that believe in him and know what he went through. He will be the first one to say that he was wrong and he as glad he was found out when he was. He is writing about his experiences in hopes that he can help others avoid the same thing. Greg


anieskamay profile image

anieskamay 3 years ago

Hi there, I am new here and i want to say thanks for becoming my first follower and nice to meet you.

I have read your story with interest, and you quote in there "hindsight is a wonderful thing" or words to that effect. In my first hub i used the same term as i totally agree.

Back to the story you tell and JD, I agree that he should have backed out of the relationship/friendship when the girl came clean about her age, but if the friendship had developed and i guess a closeness, maybe that was easier said than done. Here in the UK the age of consent is 16 years, so who is to say he committed any crime, in this country he would not have committed a crime. So begs the question, why is it different in the USA?

I think his sentence was harsh yes, and i can believe it has blighted his life. It takes two to tango and she was a willing participant, and as i say, in my country no crime would have been committed.

I hope he can go forward and put it down to experience, seems unfair that in the UK no crime would have been committed, so i find it very harsh on him, but different countries have different laws.

I wish him all the best for his future.


gregas profile image

gregas 3 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi anieskamay, Thank you for the visit. I know JD very well, and no, it's not me, but I am very close to this story. I know from the records that these girls weren't innocent and both were abused in in different ways previously. That is the reason they were seeking spiritual help. The thing is, they could have come across someone a lot worse than JD. He has had a real tough past 4 years since he's been on parole but he is holding up well. He is using the hindsight to his advantage. Greg


BuffaloGal1960 profile image

BuffaloGal1960 3 years ago from Buffalo, Missouri

Gregas: I was going to ask how old was JD? But then in skimming the answers, I found out that he was 40. I have no sympathy for him really. Why? Let's just say it was all really innocent? 1) What does a 40 year old find to talk about with a 16 year old girl - whether or not he knew her age. I just can't imagine myself talking to a 16 year old boy and not picking up on clues that he is much younger than he states. That was the first mistake. With internet, comes responsibility too. While I cannot explain why some offenders get harsher sentences for lesser crimes (at the discretion of whatever judge), I feel no remorse for JD. I'm sorry. Those girls, I feel, did not screw up his life, but his own behavior even if they were participants in a minute sort of way because I'm sick of hearing the perverted mind say of a three year old "She wanted it." I did like your article very much. There are even stronger arguments than the one you bring here because I do feel an 18 year old who has sex consentual sex with a 17 year old has faced tougher sentences, but for the hardened criminals - I'm talking of a guy who got four months probation for molesting a girl four YEARS from the ages of 4-8 and he was much older than 40 but I can't remember his exact age - those are the ones I vote CASTRATION. Loved the creative, delicate style of your writing.


gregas profile image

gregas 3 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi BG, believe me, family member or no family member, I don't defend what he did. He spent 3 years in federal prison and is finishing 5 years of very strict probation in Colorado. He admits he has a problem and works very hard at staying "clean". Thank you for your comments. Feel free to e-mail with anything you may want to talk about. Greg

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