Prosecutors in Kansas are considering whether to appeal a sexual abuse case after the judge called a 13-year-old the “aggressor” during sentencing.
67-year-old Raymond Soden is now in prison.
He allegedly told detectives he touched a 13-year-old girl but pled to another charge as part of a deal with prosecutors.
Leavenworth County Prosecutor Todd Thompson says, “He was being 100 percent clear of what he wanted from the children to the point he was offering money for services.”
Leavenworth County Prosecutor Todd Thompson wanted the standard sentence of just under 14 years.
But a District Court Judge Michael Gibbens gave Soden a little under six years.
The judge’s reasoning was the 13-year-old’s older sister helped set up the arrangement.
Gibbens said quote a 13-year-old who offers what she offered for money is certainly an aggressor, particularly since she’s the one that had to travel to Mister Soden.
Thompson says, “I mean these are children. They’re victims. This should not happen to any children.”
Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault Haleigh Harrold says, “It’s not surprising to me to hear those things but it does just remind me how important it is to educate everybody.”
Haleigh Harrold at the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault says teens often ask about victim blaming.
Harrold says, “When we think about the relationship between an adult and a child, ask anybody who has the power in that situation.”
The judge also noted the girls didn’t show up for sentencing and questioned: “I wonder what kind of trauma there really was to this victim.”
Haleigh Harrold says, “Everybody’s reaction after trauma has occurred like sexual abuse is really different.”
Thompson says, “It’s tough for any child to have to face someone who’s done that to them.”
Now Thompson is debating an appeal.
The judge also noted Soden’s age in his decision – and that the sisters allegedly conspired to rob Soden.
The county argued that’s independent of the crime he was pleading to.
Affiliate KMBC reached out to the judge’s office for comment but didn’t hear back.