No jail for 19-year-old involved in coat hanger assault case

The 19-year-old who was accused of kicking a coat hanger into the rectum of a mentally challenged football teammate shall receive no jail time according to the latest sentencing.

John R. K. Howard entered a "Alford plea" which means he maintains innocence while admitting that the judge/jury will probably find him guilty anyway.

He received probation, community service, and might have his conviction dismissed at another time.

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This doesn't sound like the correct sentencing for someone who picked on a person with mental disabilities and who also committed what could be considered a violent act of sexual assault.

The defense stated something along the lines that he wasn't the one who put the hanger in the victims rectum, but he did kick the boy on the backside, however he did not intend to kick the hanger, nor make it proceed into the victim even further.

Sounds like they couldn't tell if the hanger was in the hole or just wedged between the cheeks. Regardless, they were bullying someone who could barely defend themselves and I think a slap on the wrist is not the proper punishment.

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Something more than a slap on the wrist is needed They tortured this kid and he had a hanger in his backside. Could the judge be a little more serious in this ruling? A boy got raped with an object. Take it serious.

The Twin Falls Times-News writes that supporters of the black player see the sentencing as "a slap on the wrist for a privileged white teen who preyed on a disabled teammate from the only black family in town."

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Howard, who pleaded guilty to felony injury of a child, had originally been charged with sexual assault. But prosecutors later decided that, while they were confident they could prove Howard kicked the coat hanger into his teammate's rectum, the act did not constitute a sex crime. District Judge Randy Stoker agreed, and approved the plea deal for a lesser charge in December.

On Friday, as he issued the final sentencing, he also discounted testimony of racist remarks toward the black player and concluded that the assault was not racially motivated.

Two other members of the football team were also charged in connection with the attack. The Idaho Statesman reports that the outcomes of their cases are sealed in juvenile court.

In addition to the criminal cases at the state level, the mentally disabled young man's parents are also pursuing a federal civil case, which is still ongoing. "The truth will come out," the family's attorney in that case said, according to The Guardian.

We should note that the mentally disabled young man has referred to his teammates as his "friends" throughout the case, even while testifying about racist comments and physical abuse.

Howard's defense attorney didn't deny that this incident occurred. Instead he argued that the football star kicked at his black teammate while the hanger was between his buttocks, but did not intentionally kick at the hanger itself, the Times-News reports. The attorney also argued that Howard may not have known the hanger, which was inserted by another player, was there.

The victim has also testified that Howard repeatedly called him the n-word and taught him a KKK-glorifying song that called for the lynching of black people, and that other members of the football team called him "fried chicken," "watermelon," "Kool-Aid" and "grape soda," the Times-News reports. (Stoker said during sentencing that "nobody" thinks those are racial slurs, despite the fact that the terms have a long history of being used as racist insults, as Alex Riggins of the Times-News explained.)

That is 100% messed up. You can't do this to another human being and get a slap on the wrist. Give them at least one year in the clink to think about how poorly they treated another human being.

Maybe he can get out in a few months like the other rapist, Brock Turner.

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