Most of society recognizes rape as the heinous crime that it is, which is why the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government work so hard to ensure adequate justice is meted out . . . at least, most elected officials do. But not Dallas Judge Jeanine Howard.
Then-18-year-old Sir Young pled guilty to raping his 14-year-old classmate at Booker T. Washington High School in 2011. Young faced up to 20 years in jail but, thanks to the decision of Howard, judge of Dallas County’s Criminal District Court #6, instead received a mere five years of probation and 45 days in jail, with no restrictions on his proximity to children, no requirements to attend sex offender treatment, and no mandates to undergo sex offender evaluation or to refrain from watching pornography.
Howard’s reasoning? Young is “not your typical sex offender,” the judge claimed. His 14-year-old victim “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be,” Howard said. Howard then publicly announced that medical records purportedly indicated the victim was sexually promiscuous, a claim which the girl ardently denies. Due to these public attacks on her image, the victim now regrets coming forward about the crime. “I was shocked that a judge, someone that I trusted with this case, would go behind my back and make these allegations that she knows nothing about,” she said. “I did what I was supposed to do. I went to the law about this situation. That [the sentence] says everything I went through was for nothing.”
While recently having recused herself from another case involving Young, Judge Howard claims to stand by her decision, despite the fact that part of that decision—a requirement that Young serve 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center—became invalid after the center said he was not welcome there. “It’s just not appropriate,” Bobbie Villareal of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center said. “Just having a criminal defendant in the office could be a triggering effect for many of our clients.”