Austin Wilkerson, 22, of Colorado has inexplicably dodged a prison sentence after being convicted of rape. His light sentence has reignited the national debate about privilege in sexual assault cases for individuals who are young, white, and in college.
The judge in the case, Patrick Butler, though it appropriate to sentence Wilkerson to two years of work release and 20 years of probation after Wilkerson was convicted of sexually assaulting a “helpless victim” who he got drunk and brought back to his house. Both Wilkerson and the victim were students at University of Colorado Boulder. During a survey, it was found that 28 percent of the entire female study body at University of Colorado Boulder had been victims of a sexual assault and of those assaulted 40 percent say alcohol was a factor in their assault.
I have a genuine concern for what seems to be a pattern in sentencing in sex assault cases where the impact on the perpetrator seems to be taking precedence over what is happening to the victim. We are saying that the perpetrator’s future and life has more value to our society than that of the victim, and I think that is wrong.
General sentencing guidelines in Colorado call for an individual convicted of rape to face a prison term of four to twelve years.