MT Judge Under Fire for 60-Day Sentence in Incest Case

A Montana judge who sentenced a man to 60 days in jail for repeatedly raping his own daughter is facing calls to step down. More than 62,000 people signed a petition to impeach Montana’s 17th District Judge John McKeon. Under McKeon’s ruling, the 40-year-old man would spend a mere 43 days in jail after admitting to sexually assaulting his 12-year-old daughter. The case sparked outrage in northeastern Montana, with many noting that the man would be allowed to return to his family after serving the short sentence—possibly to assault the girl again. “No one spoke on behalf of the 12-year-old child at trial,” the petition says. “It is time to start punishing the judges who let these monsters walk our streets.” Prosecutors had asked for a 25-year sentence. Instead, McKeon sentenced the man to 60 days in jail and a 30-year suspended sentence—which the man will not serve if he completes probation and a community-based sex-offender treatment program. McKeon has defended his ruling, saying a plea agreement in place allowed for a lighter sentence if a psychosexual evaluation of the man deemed it to be reasonable. McKeon also said the victim’s mother and grandmother had asked that the convicted rapist not be sent to prison. The identity of the man has been withheld to protect the privacy of the 12-year-old victim.