The distraught father of a raped Texas girl lashed out at a judge this week after a 22-year-old defendant who was convicted of the crime received a light sentence, according to a report.
“Be careful which judges you elect,” the father, who requested that his name not be released to protect his daughter’s privacy, told FOX 26 in Houston.
“What does the judge say to our children when we try to teach our children to go to the police? The father continued. “Let the police take care of everything. Let the law do it. It’s their job – and then it happens.”
On June 3, Polk County District Court Judge Travis Kitchens convicted defendant Eli Binnion, who authorities say committed the crime in July 2018, when he was 19 years old and the daughter was 14, reported FOX 26.
Binnion was sentenced to 180 days in prison as part of his probation, which means he could be released in 100 days, the station reported. Prosecutors wanted Binnion to spend 15 years behind bars, according to the report.
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Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon made it clear that the girl was unwilling to have sex with the accused, but instead was forcibly sexually assaulted.
Hon described the crime as a serious case with a dangerous perpetrator, FOX 26 reported. He said Binnion followed the young girl to a hotel room, where she and others went to search for supplies for a rally. The 4th of July. He then forced her to sit on a bed and attacked her, the prosecutor told FOX 26.
“You get a slap on the wrist,” the father told the station incredulously. “No victim will want to come forward and go through all the struggles and hardships they have to go through, just for the person to come out and be free.”
The father told FOX 26 his daughter has shown signs of emotional distress since the crime – crying at night, sometimes unable to sleep, etc.
Hon said the girl’s parents asked to testify during the trial but the judge did not allow it.
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However, Mike Davis, Binnion’s defense attorney, said he never heard the judge deny parents the opportunity to testify. He claimed the decision may have been made by the district attorney’s office, FOX 26 reported.
The station could not reach Kitchens to comment on its decision.
The girl’s father said the outcome of the case had left him disillusioned.
“I promised my daughter justice,” he told FOX 26, “and obviously I was wrong because the court system is not going to give it to her.”