Justice

This Man's Sentence for Molesting a Toddler Is Sparking Outrage

September 14th 2016

By:
Kyle Jaeger

An Iowa teenager won't face any prison time after pleading guilty to sexually molesting a 2-year-old and filming the assault in 2013, according to local media reports.

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Instead, Wapello County Judge Myron Gookin this week gave 19-year-old Kraigen Grooms a ten-year suspended sentence and five years of supervised release for one count of engaging in a lascivious act with a child. Grooms was initially charged with second-degree sexual abuse — a class B felony that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison — after he was arrested in 2014.

RawStory reports that in July, Grooms reached a plea deal for the lesser charge "of engaging in a lascivious act with a child." As a result, he will avoid prison unless he breaks the conditions of his parole, in which case he'll serve ten years. Grooms must register as a sex offender for life, local television station KTVO-TV reports.

The outrage over Grooms' sentence, which has been perceived as excessively lenient, has drawn parallels to recent cases of young white men avoiding maximum penalties for sexual assault (case in point, Brock Turner). It's possible that his age was a factor in the sentencing, however. Grooms was 17 at the time of the assault, and Iowa law stipulates that the charge of "engaging in a lascivious act with a child" applies to adults 18 or older. (The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.)

ATTN: reached out to the Wapello County Attorney's office for additional details on the case, but we did not receive a response by the time of publication. We will update this article when we hear back.

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