A story in the Aiken Standard on March 20 turned my stomach. This is yet another example of the punishment not fitting the crime. It’s bad enough that plea-bargaining has compromised the fairness of our judicial system. But it is unconscionable that a habitual child molester will be eligible for parole next March after serving five years, half of his lenient sentence, in prison for multiple sexual crimes against children. Entrusted by the school system and parents to look after the welfare of their children, he took advantage of those in his charge for a period of 20 years.

But even more unconscionable and unbelievable is the fact that the state classified his crimes, such as assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature against a child, to be non-violent crimes. How could anything, short of murder, be more violent than sexually assaulting a child? Because of this distinction, he is eligible for time off for “good behavior,” after attending church regularly in prison. This, along with allowing him to serve multiple sentences concurrently (at the same time) makes a mockery of our jurisprudence system. Not only is he eligible for early parole, but aside from registering as a sex offender, he will not be subject to lifetime GPS monitoring.

This man has demonstrated that he is the worst type of predator and putting him back in the community, especially early, puts all children in danger. And it illuminates the inherent problems of lenient and unbalanced jurisprudence in the name of expediency.

Stephen Barrow