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Mark Daniels Christian Blog and Commentary

Justice Denied

Witness yet another ridiculous judgment involving a known child molester. This time, the story comes from Ohio. Back in 2004, Andrew Selva was indicted on a series of rapes involving unspeakable acts with two boys, aged 5 and 12. In a plea deal, Selva was allowed to plead guilty to two counts of sexual battery (not rape, not molestation, as his lawyer quickly points out). Judge John Connor nonetheless labeled Selva a "sexual predator," which is the most severe of the sexual offender categories.

But why, then, did that same judge sentence Selva, not to jail, but to house arrest?    "Because [Selva] has a disease," that's why. "I don't know what prison would have helped, except for revenge, and revenge is not in the sentencing guidelines," says Connor. His perspective is eerily similar to--and equally arrogant as--the argument fowarded by Judge Edward Cashman—remember him? He's the Vermontjurist who sentenced child rapist Mark Hulett to 60 days in jail because, after 25 years on the bench, Cashman "no longer believed in punishment." 

So--to help Judge Connor understand--what would a prison sentence for Terry Selva have helped? It would have helped a convicted child rapist understand that he doesn't have a disease--he's guilty of a heinous crime. It would have helped other child molesters understand that what they might still be doing is wrong, and that they need to stop it right now. Sending Terry Selva to prison would have helped children feel safer, and would have reminded their parents that society is looking out for them, too. But perhaps most importantly, punishing Terry Selva might have helped his victims start down the long road toward healing—a process they will likely never complete.

By his ruling, the judge in Selva's case says that the slim possibility of rehabilitation for this rapist—excuse me, this "sexual batterer"—outweighs the victims’ right to justice—"revenge," as Judge Connor sees it.   Terry Selva gets a second chance...but his victims can never regain their lost innocence.