Judge Thomas Lipps ruled today that the two young men who are alleged to have raped a fellow 16 year old student have been found guilty.
CNN’s report this morning emphasized the emotional heights of this ruling. The two young men, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were sentenced to time in juvenile detention. Richmond cried after the sentencing, while trying to apologize to the victim and her family. CNN’s reporter, Poppy Harlow, reported on how hard it was to watch “as these two young men — who had such promising futures, star football players, very good students — literally watched as they believed their life fell apart. . . .
One of the young men, Ma’lik Richmond, as that sentence came down, he collapsed, . . . the convicted rapist told his attorney that “my life is over, no one is going to want me now.”
Yes it is true that their lives will be changed forever. They are now considered sex offenders, and will carry that label for the rest of their lives. The boys, however, will not be the only ones to carry a live-long burden. Their victim will be carrying a hefty burden, for the rape as well as for all the photos and videos that were widely distributed and viewed by her friends, family, classmates, and even people who never knew who she was before. Perhaps her promising future too has been diminished (what do you think, Poppy Harlow)?
Sure I know that much of the media feels compelled to find the “human interest” side in every story, to tug on our heartstrings in a bid for viewers. But this “tug” felt more like a heave.
Yes, these young men’s lives have been diminished. But it was not the sentence that did them it. It was their own actions, for which they are now being held accountable. And that’s how justice is supposed to work.
If you can’t see the CNN video in the viewer above, try this link to YouTube: http://youtu.be/MvUdyNko8LQ.