Justice

Major Rape Trial Has People Drawing Comparisons to Brock Turner and Austin Wilkerson

August 23rd 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Former high school athlete David Becker — who was charged with sexually assaulting two unconscious women at an April 2 party — was granted a two year continuance by Palmer District Court Judge Thomas Estes, on Monday.

This means that Becker — a former student at East Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts — will serve probation for two years, during which he will have to stay away from the two alleged victims, submit to drug and alcohol testing, and be evaluated for treatment given to sex offenders, according to Deadspin.

Becker did not technically receive a "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict. If he does not violate the terms of his probation, the offenses he was charged with — two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery — will not appear on his record and he will not be required to register as a sex offender.

If he re-offends within the two year period, the verdict will turn into a conviction, according to local news outlet MassLive.

The decision goes against the Hampden County District Attorney's Office recommendation of a sentence of two years in prison, MassLive reports. Instead, Judge Estes followed the recommendations of Becker's attorney, Thomas Rooke.

In an interview with MassLive, Rooke explained that Becker's sentence would allow him to live a normal life and preserve his college experience, yet failed to mention the violence of the alleged crime or its impact on Becker's alleged victims.

“He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender,” Rooke told MassLive. “The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience.”

Here's what the victims had to say.

One of Becker's alleged victims claimed that he apologized to her via text message after the alleged assault.

From MassLive:

"The victim responded with a text telling Becker 'don't even worry about it,' but later told police that she said this because 'she did not know what else to say,' Ingalls' police report states."

Another one of the alleged victims claimed that "she had heard Becker had similarly assaulted other girls in the past — earning him the nickname 'David the rapist,'" according to Raw Story.

"Labeling him 'David the Rapist' is truly an unjust character assassination of what this individual has accomplished in the past," Rooke told MassLive, also citing his accomplishments as a three-sport athlete at East Longmeadow High School.

Police were unable to find evidence of previous sexual assaults committed by Becker, and one of the alleged victims told the court she did not believe it was necessary for him to serve jail time, Raw Story reports.

“We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn’t be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender,” Rooke continued. “Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid’s life.”

As ATTN: has reported previously, the sentences received by Brock Turner and Austin Wilkerson — white men charged with sexual assault, while studying at Stanford University and the University of Colorado, respectively — both ignited mass outrage for their leniency.

Rooke's statement about his client echoes the sentiment of Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who infamously said that a harsher sentence "would have a severe impact on" Brock Turner — again worrying more about the impact of punishment of the alleged offender (or in Turner's case convicted offender) than the alleged victim of sexual assault.

brock-turner-mugshot

Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail plus probation. Wilkerson received no jail time.

The University of Dayton, where Becker had planned to go to college, told MassLive he would not be attending school there.