Leavenworth County District Judge Michael Gibbens recently heard the case of Raymond Soden, a 67-year-old man who paid for sex with young girls he’d met online.
At the end of the trial Gibbens sentenced Soden to five years and 10 months in prison, eight years less than what is called for in Kansas sentencing guidelines. Gibbens did so because he believes the girls, one age thirteen and the other fourteen, were partly to blame for what happened and Gibbens questioned how much they were harmed, pointing out that they went to Soden’s house voluntarily and didn’t appear in court when he was sentenced; vile, yes, but he went even further:
“I do find that the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct. They were certainly selling things monetarily that it’s against the law for even an adult to sell.”
Yes, children cannot consent to sex, which is why having sex with a minor is often considered rape, but these two children were the aggressors. And he clearly felt that Soden was the victim …
While Soden had two prior criminal convictions—one for battery and one for sexual battery—prosecutors argued for a sentence of 13-plus years in prison, but Gibbens blamed the girls because they had voluntarily gone to Soden’s house and had taken money for sexual favors … because the girls had allegedly tried to have someone rob Soden … and because the older sister of the girls had been the one who arranged for them to meet Soden. Soden also knew the girl’s mother and knew her older daughter has “pimped’ out her younger sisters.
Gibbens took all that into consideration in the sentencing and cited other factors, like Soden’s age, poor physical health and low intellectual functioning, but not the fact that he paid to have sex with children.
Children. Can't. Consent.