What’s going on here? We may not know enough to be sure, but one thing is certain: Deputy Attorney General Casey Hammer’s brain and mouth are not connected to his ethics alarms. Maybe the whole Idaho Attorney General’s office has the same problem.
In 2015, charges were brought against three white Dietrich, Idaho high school football players alleging that they attacked and sexually assaulted a black, mentally disabled teammate. John R.K. Howard, then 18, was charged as an adult and accused of thrusting a coat-hanger into the anus of the boy while the others held him.
Now 19, Howard was allowed last week to avoid jail time in exchange for an Alford plea, a device allowed in some states, in which he acknowledges that he would have likely been found guilty in trial but doesn’t admit his guilt. He pleaded to a single felony count of injury to a child, for which he will be sentenced to only two to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service. In my state, serious traffic violations can get harsher punishment than that.
Deputy Attorney General Casey Hammer “explained” that while Howard’s behavior was “egregious” and caused the victim “a lot of suffering,” it was not a really a sex crime, and so his office agreed to dropping the charge to the lesser felony. This means that in Idaho, apparently, kicking a hanger into a male victim’s rectum doesn’t qualify as rape. I wonder if any object being kicked into someone’s rectum is similarly immune from the charge. Would someone who kicked a hanger into a woman’s vagina be called rape? How about if the assailant was black and the victim was white?
Incredibly, Hemmer’s commentary got worse. “We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Mr. Howard to suffer the consequences of a sex offender,” Hemmer said. “But he still needs to be held accountable.”
Heaven forbid that that a student who does this to a disabled team mate while he is being held by two other students should suffer. We can’t have that.