Unfair sentence

On Feb. 18, 1992 a sentence was meted out by Judge John Countryman against a 25-year-old male NIU student who admitted guilt to battery, criminal trespass to property and criminal damage to property. The sentence? Better sit down for this one! Eighteen months of supervision, a two-hundred and fifty dollar fine and … a letter of apology to the victim. Sounds tough, does it? Perhaps it’s the type of sentence one would expect for a first-time offender such as a teenager involved in illegal consumption of alcohol or shoplifting, but certainly not for a crime of violence committed and admitted by an adult male in his mid-twenties against a victim of the opposite sex and of much less physical stature.

The victim is my 20-year-old daughter who is an NIU junior, all 105 lb. of her who still proved to be a formidable foe for her assailant. Her punishment? Aside from the expected physical effects of the assault (bruises on her chest and large hand marks on her arms) is the not-so-obvious psychological effects. How about extensive therapy, loss of sleep, fear of answering the door at night in her home, a lack of confidence and security in her university environment that we took pride in having her a member of, and an uneasiness of being alone in her apartment or on campus.

As an NIU parent my feelings of hostility and anger are not directed toward the university that did suspend the assailant for one semester or the police who responded promptly and compassionately. Instead, my animosity is reserved for Judge Countryman who delivered this weak-kneed, toothless sentence to an adult male who terrorized my daughter late one night in her home.

We elect, appoint and retain people to be guardians of the public safety; well, this is one dad who is questioning his faith in the system, not to mention the parody of a public servant who sat in judgment. Such cavalier sentences should not be accepted lightly. Voters should remember these incidents when smiling faces and family portraits appear on campaign literature extolling their virtues as good citizens, family men, and whatever else is fashionable. Check their records and determine if they are really concerned for our welfare or if they are just attorneys looking for job security and fringe benefits that public life has to offer.

In this case if the assailant follows the terms of his supervision, it will be removed from his record and all will be forgiven. How does that sit with you men out there?! Oh well, there’s always the letter of apology!

Am I angry? You bet I am!

Warren Bushey

NIU Parent