A California judge sentenced a man who drugged and raped his 16-year-old sister to three years in jail —with all but 240 days suspended —because he believed the “stigma” of the conviction was sufficient punishment. The confessed assailant will also serve three years probation and pay a modest fine.
Judge William H. Follett reportedly handed down the light sentence on May 17. According to the Crescent City Times, Nolan Bruder, 20, admitted to giving his younger sister high-potency marijuana “dabs” — a highly concentrated, extremely potent dose of the cannabis drug — after she repeatedly turned down his sexual advances. Bruder then raped the victim after she became so high she didn’t recognize the then-19-year-old as her brother.
Though Del Norte Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla recommended Bruder spend six years behind bars for the Rape of an Intoxicated Person charge, Judge Follett pointed out that the victim was conscious and took her own clothes off. He also suspected that prosecutors lacked the evidence to land a conviction—despite them having a taped confession, the Crescent City Times reported.
Judge Follett ultimately determined that Bruder’s lifelong sex offender status coupled with the “stigma” attached to the rape conviction sent a message to the 20-year-old and the community and would deter this type of behavior.
Del Norte District Attorney, Dale P. Trigg took issue with Judge Follett’s comments.
“I could not disagree more,” Trigg said in a statement obtained by KRC-TV.
“The message that this sends to our community is that sexual predators who get their juvenile siblings stoned enough can have sex with them without any meaningful consequence.”
Bruden’s case draws parallels to that of Brock Turner, the Stanford student who was sentenced to six months in jail for raping an unconscious woman. The state legislature passed a law making these types of crimes ineligible for probation following the controversial ruling. However, Bruden was granted probation because his crimes preceded the new law.
“In a lot of ways, this case is more egregious than Brock Turner,” Trigg said. “This defendant took advantage of a position of trust as this victim’s big brother. He knew she didn’t want to have sex with him. She told him that repeatedly. So he got her stoned on dabs he gave her until she didn’t even recognize him in order get what he wanted.”
While Judge Follett said the 18 letters of support for Bruder were influential, he insisted that “he is not getting off scot-free,” according to the Del Norte Triplicate.
In addition to the light jail sentence and probation, the Crescent City man was fined $2,420. He was taken into custody and transported to county jail.
Bruder faces three years in prison if he violates the terms of his probation, the Triplicate also reported.
Trigg concluded, “That is not the message I want to send to our community.”
[Featured Image: Del Norte District Attorney’s Office]