[LETTERS to the editor]Judicial travestyI am writing in reference to the incompetent judge who sentenced the grandfather and two uncles of a disabled girl to an 18 month suspended sentence for repeatedly sexually assaulting the child. A suspended sentence means they won’t have to spend time in prison. The rapes occurred over a seven-year period beginning when she was 9 years old. According to police, the men showed no remorse for their behavior.
The judge noted in his ruling that “It is necessary to hand down serious punishment taking into account the victim’s grave mental state.” Does the judge really consider an 18-month suspended sentence a “serious” punishment? He also commented that it would be difficult for them to endure prison life. How difficult does he think it was for the girl who was molested and raped over a seven-year period?
In the West, there are sensitivity training classes for judges. But this judge appears to need more than sensitivity training. These trainings might help a judge who hands a meager punishment for a vicious crime, but to add insult to injury, he ruled the child should be placed back in the custody of the criminals who violated her. This ruling is inhumane; the judge should be made to undergo psychological evaluation.
The prosecution is rightfully appealing this ludicrous sentencing and the appeal will obviously result in a prison sentence. It is to be hoped that the appeal judge(s) will impose a longer sentence than the prosecution is seeking (3?5 years). The one-time rape of an adult requires a long period of incarceration. However, the repeated brutality of a young, disabled girl is atrocious, particularly considering that the perpetrators are her caregivers - her family.
First of all, a higher judge has to rescind the order giving custody of the rape victim back to the very people who raped her. Next, a thorough psychological evaluation has to be done on the judge to determine his sanity.
I recommend an analysis of the judges’ previous sentencing record. Maybe this ruling was an aberration. I can only hope Judge Oh will resign. I can see his judicial peers commenting to each other, “What was he thinking?”
Ken Dinnery, Seoul, Korea
*e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 82-2-751-9219