Four men who raped girls aged 14 and 15 get away with 'scolding' and no jail time
'Mercy is when you don't get the punishment you deserve,' the judge said, calling the sentence a second chance
On Thursday, four men who were accused of raping two teenagers left the courtroom scot-free, with one laughing and smiling, after pleding guilty to a far lesser charge of assault and battery. Bryce Charleson, Cody Haux, Jamel Quick, and Edward House, all from Laurinburg, were offered plea deals after originally being charged with sexual assault. The two females were 14 and 15 when they were assaulted at the Sea Gypsy Inn on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach in 2015.
In a deplorable turn of events, the defendants were sentenced to five years probation under the youthful offenders' act or YOA and are currently not allowed to have contact with the victims after pleading guilty to a far lesser charge of assault and battery, owing to the said deals.
During the arraignment, Judge George McFaddin, presiding, explained to the young men why they were being granted mercy using some harsh words.
"Mercy is when you don't get the punishment you deserve," the judge said, calling the YOA sentence a second chance.
"Your conduct on that day was reprehensible and disgusting. Indeed, depraved," he added.
The judge then asked if the crime had been committed against one of their sisters or mothers, how they would sentence the offenders. The men didn't have an answer.
Officers were called to the Grand Strand Medical Center on April 9, 2015, according to a police report. Two females, aged 14 and 15, claimed they were assaulted at the Sea Gypsy Inn on Ocean Boulevard, reported ABC 15.
Recounting the incident, the teens said they decided to go out for a walk after coming out on a vacation with the 15-year-old's family. While they were strolling, they were met by four male teens who invited them to their hotel room at the Sea Gypsy Inn after drinking with them.
One of the unnamed victims' mothers, Sonya, revealed that she got a call from her daughter that night. "I couldn't really make out what she was saying," she recalled, before her daughter's friend got on the phone. "With what she was saying and with what my daughter had said, I was able to determine that some guys had done something really bad to her," Sonya said.
According to a police report, one victim claimed to have been raped by three of the suspects, while the other said she was physically assaulted by one of them. "The word rape is just so vulgar, but that's what they did," Sonya said. "And then they left her on the beach."
Each of the young women wrote letters for the judge which were read by an advocate. One read: "I didn't touch my parents for a long time after coming home. I didn't let anyone hug me. I jumped at the slightest touch they had given me and it was difficult because, all my life, the safest places were always my parents and that was gone."
"I let my hopes of going back to school disappear because of my anxiety and I couldn't last through the day. I fell behind and couldn't catch up. I missed out on pep rally's, football games, basketball games, getting a class ring my junior year, prom and graduation," it continued.
Due to the circumstances surrounding the crime, there would have to be four separate trials, according to the prosecution. But as the victims didn't want to relive the crime during trials, they chose to go with a plea deal for the suspects, assistant solicitor Mary-Ellen Walter said.
"You have to strike a delicate balance and it's a struggle every day to say, okay this is harsh enough to address what happened to the victim, but it's reasonable enough or it gives the defendant something to make them want to plea," Walters explained.
Speaking on behalf of the defendants, their attorneys tried to explain that their clients had just completed school and felt immense remorse for their actions.
"I don't know that there is any sentence ever that would, in my mind, properly address what happened to those girls," Walter said.
In a shameful turn of events, the four defendants left the courtroom scot-free and with little visible emotion, with one laughing and smiling while holding hands with a woman.
"They're going to continue to go on with their lives and this whole time, I've been stuck on April 9th, 2015," the mother said.