We're Not Even Going To Say What This Kansas Judge Did In The Headline, Because UGHHHHH
A disgusting, gross 67-year-old man from Leavenworth, Kansas, was convicted last year for soliciting sex from young girls through Facebook. Raymond Soden exchanged messages with a 13-year-old girl and offered her money for nude photos of herself and for physical sex acts. Soden was not confused and merely thought he was chatting up a kinky senior citizen online. He knew the girl was 13.
Soden should rightly spend the rest of his twisted life behind bars. He had two prior convictions, one for battery and the other for sexual battery. The prosecution argued for a somewhat-fitting 13 years in prison, in keeping with state guidelines. District Court Judge Michael Gibbens instead sentenced Soden to just five years and 10 months. Soden's current victims might be old enough to vote then.
Kansas state law required that Gibbens have "compelling" reasons for his softball sentence, and Gibbens's rationale is almost as sick as Soden is. He claims that Soden's victims were partly to blame for what happened. He wasn't even convinced they'd actually been harmed all that much.
JUDGE ASSHOLE: I do find that the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct. They were certainly selling things monetarily that it's against the law for even an adult to sell.
Not sure where this judge learned to judge but he must've missed that day in law school where they covered statutory rape and child molestation laws. It doesn't matter if the girls "voluntarily" went to Soden's house or accepted money or candy to act out Soden's sick fantasies. They are children. Soden was the adult pervert.
Soden reportedly met the 13-year-old girl and her 14-year-old sister offline through their mother, who worked odd (but presumably legal) jobs at his house for cash. Their older sister was the "madame" of sorts for the girls and arranged for them to meet Soden. The 13-year-old told authorities she felt "uncomfortable" about an incident where Soden touched her with his pervert hands.
JUDGE ASSHOLE: And so she's uncomfortable for something she voluntarily went to, voluntarily took her top off of, and was paid for?
Thirteen-year-old girls can't legally consent to anything. What the hell is wrong with you?
JUDGE ASSHOLE: I wonder what kind of trauma there really was to this victim under those peculiar circumstances.
Uh, a lot, asshole. There was probably a lot of trauma that she will live with for longer than five years and 10 months. That's roughly as long as one of our slacker friends took to get a communications degree.
Gibbens thought Soden should get a break because he's old, not very bright, and in poorer health than the average child molester. He also bought the defense's story that the girls planned to "rob" Soden. What's especially infuriating is that Gibbens questioned why the girls didn't show up for Soden's sentencing hearing. Yeah, Judge Genius, it's really suspicious when an assault victim refuses to see her abuser again.
The prosecutors are currently researching an appeal to the reduced sentence. They're probably busy consulting law books labeled "WTF?" When parents can't protect children from abuse, the state has an obligation to do so. Gibbens failed in his duty to these girls and his reprehensible comments promote the incorrect narrative that there are "good" victims and victims who "deserve" what happens to them. Gibbens should not be a judge anymore.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).