A rape victim is reportedly outraged after a Louisiana judge suggested that a convicted rapist could pay money in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Washington Post reports that Judge Bruce Bennett sentenced Sedrick Hills, 44, to 12 years in prison for raping a teen girl in 2003. The victim was 15 when the incident happened. She’s been waiting for years for her attacker to face justice.
Prior to sentencing, inside a Baton Rouge courtroom last week, Bennett asked the victim if she would take a payment of $150,000 from the suspect. The catch: the rapist gets a lighter sentence.
The victim, who said she lost 16 years of her life after the brutal assault, rejected the judge’s suggestion.
“I don’t think money is going to provide any restitution for what he’s done,” the victim, now 31, told the judge.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said the victim wanted no money from the rapist. Instead, she wanted to ensure he remains behind bars, according to The Advocate.
“This whole experience has been like a movie, but a bad movie, a horror movie,” the victim added.
“I’ve been fighting this over half my life. I’m tired. I’m angry. Stuff like this deteriorates a person. It deteriorates who I am. I’m still trying to figure out who I am.”
Hills was formally charged with rape in 2014, after DNA evidence linked him to the crime. In 2018, a jury found him guilty of forcible rape, along with sexual assault in connection with an unrelated case.
District Judge Trudy White threw out Hills’ case after juror Marion Lathan, who voted “not guilty” on both counts against Hills, claimed she heard a white male juror calling the suspect racist names.
“Let’s convict this n***** already, I am ready to go play golf,” the woman claimed the man said. “The n***** should have just taken a plea deal anyway.”
Bennett subsequently threw out White’s ruling after other jury members, including alternate members, said they never once heard any other juror make racist remarks.
“We all spoke. We all just talked,” Lakitha Lewis, a black juror who voted “guilty” on both counts said, adding there was no racial division between the jury.
“I am not convinced … that the statements were made,” Bennett ruled from state District Court last month.
Afterward, White transferred from the criminal bench to the civil bench on the 19th Judicial District Court.
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[Feature Photo: Pixabay]