An Idaho judge tells a convicted 19 year old rapist that he must remain celibate until he get married as a condition of his probation. Do you think the judge was right? Check out the full story and the judge’s reasons below.
In sentencing a 19-year-old who pleaded guilty to statutory rape last week, a judge in Idaho made it clear his punishment would include an extra wrinkle: government-mandated celibacy.
The unusual proclamation by Judge Randy Stoker of the Fifth District of Idaho that abstinence would be a condition of probation appears to be based at least partly on an archaic, rarely enforced state law that forbids premarital sex.
But unless the law is successfully challenged, a consensual sexual encounter could prompt a prison stay for Cody Herrera, who was 18 when he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl.
Mr. Herrera was sentenced last week to five to 15 years in prison, but the sentence was suspended in favor of a rehabilitation program of sorts that serves as a middle ground between probation and prison time. Based on Mr. Herrera’s success in the program, a judge could opt to release him on probation or send him to prison to serve the original sentence. The program usually takes about six months.
Anyone free on probation is, of course, not allowed to break the law. And Judge Stoker made clear that would include fornication.
“If you’re ever on probation with this court, a condition of that will be you will not have sexual relations with anyone except who you’re married to, if you’re married,” Judge Stoker said, according to The Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho.
The newspaper reported that the judge cited Mr. Herrera’s sexual history as a factor in the condition; Mr. Herrera told investigators that he has had 34 sexual partners. “I have never seen that level of sexual activity by a 19-year-old,” Judge Stoker said, according to the newspaper.
The fornication law calls for a fine of up to $300 and six months in prison for any unmarried person who has sexual intercourse with an unmarried person of the opposite sex. Mr. Loebs said there are no “bedroom police,” but if someone on probation is required to not break any laws, that would be one of laws they cannot break.
“It is a statute, and it would be certainly within the rights of any judge to tell a person they don’t get to choose which statutes they violate,” he said.
In March 2015, Mr. Herrera, whose lawyer did not return a phone call seeking comment on Monday, pleaded guilty to the rape of the 14-year-old girl. The girl told the authorities that she had lied and told him she was 16 when she met him in 2014, according to The Times-News. He was 17 at the time.
After they began spending time together, her mother told him the girl was 14 and was not allowed to have a boyfriend, the newspaper said. But in March 2015, after he had turned 18, he sneaked into her bedroom through a window, the girl told the authorities. She said she thought he was there to watch a movie, and asked him to stop when he touched her breasts. But he continued, removing both of their clothes and sexually assaulting her, she told the authorities.
The age of consent in Idaho is 18. Though the state does not use the term “statutory rape,” Mr. Herrera’s rape charge is based on a subsection of the law related to age, Mr. Loebs said.