When you find out why he got such a lenient sentence, you’ll be furious.
In the state of Wisconsin, U.S., an individual found guilty of sexually assaulting a minor may face up to 40 years in prison – in addition to a hefty fine. Knowing this fact, it’s an outrage that after Samuel Curtis Johnson III, heir to the SC Johnson company, confessed to sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter, he received only a four-month jail sentence.
Outraged activists can thank Judge Gasiorkiewicz from Racine, WI, who cited the Johnson family’s importance in the community to be more important than the 12-year-old girl’s rights.
Originally, the billionaire was charged with felony sexual assault of a child for repeatedly targeting his stepdaughter beginning in 2011. Johnson is “a sex addict,” according to the victim, and he touched her inappropriately 15 to 20 times starting when she was 12 years old.
The atrocity came to light when the young girl told her mom and Johnson was confronted. According to the judge, however, the girl and her mother would not cooperate, which is why he downgraded the charges to a misdemeanor.
There is controversy on this claim, though, as “refusal to cooperate” is a common reason many rapists go free. Johnson’s lawyers insisted the girl’s medical records be released to see if she had reported the abuse to her therapist. And unless the records were released, the court ruled that she could not testify. In effect, the case fell apart because the girl was barred from taking the stand.
The violated young female isn’t the first to be jipped by such a system. Traumatized victims are often unable to navigate the strict legal maze. And, like the case with Brock Turner which is too fresh for anyone to forget, victims are penalized harshly if they can’t recount the entire story or change minute aspects of what they can recollect.
In addition, there are always complicated emotions when it comes to testifying against a family member. Indeed, prosecutors say the girl and her mother did not want to press charges against Johnson, whom they are likely dependent on financially and socially.
Regardless, is it fair that the justice system works differently for the super-rich?
Johnson’s attorney, Michael F. Hart, argued that the maximum prison term for his client was not fair and that it should be reserved for “maximum defendants,” people unlike his client (aka not billionaires with a prestigious name), who has no prior record and who leads a “productive life,” relays Addicting Info.
At the end of the case, the judge gave Johnson, a billionaire, a fine of $6,000 and ruled that the businessman must serve at least 60 days of the sentence before he will be eligible for release.
As Think Progress reports:
“Johnson is the latest symbol of how the justice system works differently for the super-rich. One wealthy heir who raped his 3-year-old daughter was recently sentenced to probation because the judge decided he “will not fare well” in prison. In another high-profile case, a wealthy teenager successfully avoided jail time for killing four people in a drunk driving incident by arguing he had “affluenza” — that his rich parents had never taught him how to make moral choices.”
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