Louisiana judge offers teen rape victim $150,000 from assaulter in exchange for lesser sentence
The victim, who had asked the judge to give him at least 16 years in prison, declined the offer.
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA: A Louisiana rape victim declined a judge's offer wherein he would reduce her assailant's sentence in exchange for him paying her $150,000 in restitution.
State District Judge Bruce Bennett's offer to the 31-year-old victim, which came after sentencing Sedrick Hills, 44, to 12 years in prison for the rape this past Thursday, November 7, took both the prosecution and defense by surprise, according to the Advocate.
The victim had been raped by Hills when she was just 15-years-old in 2003, though he was not caught and indicted until 2014 when DNA evidence linked him to the crime.
He was convicted of forcible rape and another sexual assault-related in August 2018, with his sentencing last week signaling what should have been an end to the victim's lengthy ordeal.
In her impact statement, she said Hills had taken at least 16 years of her life and asked Bennett to do the same to him. "This whole experience has been like a movie, but a bad movie, a horror movie," she said. "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."
Despite her seemingly unwavering stance on how Hills should be punished, Bennett took matters into his own hands and tried striking a deal without the consent of either prosecution or defense that would see the 44-year-old walk free earlier for cash restitution.
"I don't think money is going to provide any restitution for what he's done," the victim told him after he made his offer.
Following the hearing, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore confirmed his office had not sought the compensation arrangement. "We respectfully objected to the 12-year sentence," he said. "The victim wants jail time and no financial compensation from him."
Hill's attorney, Robert Tucker, similarly said that day was the first he had heard of the offer but could not comment any further.
According to the official webpage of the 19th Judicial District Court, Bennett had been named to fill the 19th JDC’s vacant seat that resulted from the recent retirement of Judge Todd Hernandez and will continue to preside over Section VIII until a special election is held in the Fall of 2019.