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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Ind. Courts - "When did rape stop being rape?"

Recall the Muncie Central incident where "School officials did not call police in after the victim reported having been raped in a school restroom, but instead had her sit in the principal's office for two and a half hours," reported in this March 8, 2011 ILB entry, headed "Ex-Muncie Central principal charged over handling of rape case."

In this longish Aug. 1, 2011 Muncie Star-Press story headed "Accused Central High School rapist pleads guilty," Douglas Walker reported:

MUNCIE -- A soft-spoken Steven B. Moore on Monday admitted to sexually assaulting a classmate in a Central High School restroom last November.

Moore, now 17, pleaded guilty to sexual battery and criminal confinement on Monday after his defense attorney, Jacob Dunnuck, negotiated a plea agreement with Deputy Prosecutor Eric Hoffman.

Those criminal charges -- which when combined carry a maximum 11-year prison term -- essentially replace the rape charge that had been pending against Moore for more than eight months, and carried a possible 20-year sentence.

Delaware Circuit Court 5 Judge Thomas Cannon Jr. took the deal under advisement, and tentatively set sentencing for Aug. 23.

The victim's mother -- who attended Monday's hearing -- has signed off on the agreement, Hoffman said in a press release.

Today Lisa Nellessen-Lara, who is executive editor of The Star Press, writes in a long opinion piece headed "When did rape stop being rape?" - some quotes:
Don't get me wrong. It's not the sentence I have an issue with, nor is this issue about Moore. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he made the world's most horrible decision because he was young and impressionable and stupid -- rather than the evil many would say someone must be to commit such a heartless crime.

This is about the conflicting message this case -- and others like it -- send to our young people.

After decades of "no means no," these kids are left with "no kind of means no, but not completely." * * *

Certainly the young lady in this case will never be the same. She was attacked, abandoned, treated like a criminal, belittled and then left to pick up the pieces of her life. If she were to get anything out of this plea, it would be that she did not have to face her attacker in court.

Steven Moore faces 11 years in prison and a lifetime of -- one hopes -- remorse.

But it's the faces of the laughing, jeering boys and girls outside Central High School, who protested Moore's arrest, that truly haunt me. What lesson did they learn? Because at the end of the day, Indiana law gave Moore a bit of an out. And those kids know it. They'll be counting on an out, as well, the next time they "get out of hand."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 7, 2011 12:48 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts