05.21.14 5:29 PM ET
House Arrest for Marital Rape, Are you Kidding?!
Over the course of three years, Mandy Boardman's husband repeatedly drugged and raped her at night while she slept. Boardman had no idea this was happening but started noticing odd things, like powder in her drinks or a half-dissolved pill in her mouth in the morning and her husband slipping out of the bedroom, carrying a flashlight. Eventually Boardman found videos on her husband's phone documenting him repeatedly raping Boardman while she lay there unconscious.
None of this is in dispute; Boardman's husband was convicted. What is in dispute is the sanity of the judge who sentenced Boardman's husband to only eight years of house arrest. No jail time. No mandatory treatment. Nothing.
And then the judge encouraged Mandy Boardman to find it in her heart to forgive her husband. Are you kidding me?!??
Never mind the fact that, in the not-too-distant history of American jurisprudence, including in Indiana where the Boardmans lived, marital rape was not a crime. In fact for most of American history, women were legally the property of their husbands. But that's changed: marital rape is a crime, one only punishable by prison time.
Boardman's husband was convicted on six counts of sexual assault. Each charge usually carries a prison term of six to 20 years. Prosecutors had asked for a 49-year sentence. Instead, Boardman's husband got a slap in the wrist and house arrest.
Now I think sentencing and our criminal justice system in general have gotten largely out of hand in our country. But that only underscores the injustice of the sentence here. Every day, thousands of Americans—especially young black men—are sentenced to 20, 40, 60 years in prison for minor drug possession offenses. If you're a black man and rape or kill a white woman, the odds of your sentencing are enormously higher than than if you're a white man. Or apparently a white husband.
The insanity of this outcome, combined with the daily injustices of our criminal “justice” system sadly remind us that in courts, as in marriages and newsrooms and our political system and our economy in general, some people just matter more than others. Which in this particular case isn't just sad but sickening.