Out of control sentencing
So the case of Tennille Whitaker is a bit of a horror, but not for her crime. You may have read about her case. She was the teacher in Wells who had sex with a couple of 17-year-old boys who were students in the school, and she got busted. The charge was sexual misconduct with a student. Not sexual assault, mind you, but sexual misconduct. And Judge Nancy Porter in Elko just gave her 20 years in The Joint.
Excuse me? Did you say 20 years? As in 20 bleeping years? Excuse the spray of coffee I just spit out all over my eggs.
Look, I’m not insensitive to the reality that it must have been a complex and emotionally turbo-charged case. After all, we are talking about big bad sex. And I realize that a crime was indeed committed, and that shoudn’t be ignored (but then again, it’s interesting that Nevada is one of the few states where the age of sexual consent is 16). But I just want to tap into my ancient, well-entrenched, liberal boomer mindset here to put forth the proposition that if Whitaker had been shamed in her community (which she was, totally and thoroughly) and then lost her precious teaching job (I mean, all those bennies and perks just flew away forever), and then maybe sentenced to a token stretch of 4-6 months at the county prison farm, OK, fine. That would seem to me to be a perfectly adequate punishment while sending a clear message to the rest of the faculty that such a crime is absolutely not acceptable.
But 20 years? Twenty years in some hellhole prison? And, yes, of course I’m bringing this up because the Manafort Comparison dangles obscenely in space for all to acknowledge, ponder and compare. Twenty years? You’ve got to be kidding. I’m going to dare to assume that every woman who’s ever had a man rape her at knifepoint only to see him get off with a six-month slap on the wrist, isn’t gonna be particularly impressed. And how about every girl who’s ever been molested by some “pillar of the community,” only to see Mr. Pillar get off with some bullshit community service as “punishment?” Impressed by Whitaker’s extreme sentence? Again, I’m guessing no.
So, OK. We’re doing lots of investigating. We’re doing lots of document collecting. We’re doing lots of researching. All well and good, all very necessary. But goddammit, when are we gonna start doing some busting? And I mean busting of people whose last name begins with T? Come on, already!