Mentally Retarded Teen Gets 100 Years in Prison for Abuse

When I was in law school, I took a class called Mental Illness and the Law. The cases we studied were devastating accounts of how our justice system mishandles defendants, convicted felons and prisoners who suffer from serious and debilitating mental diseases or defects.  A recent court case noted in USA Today is yet another example of our system’s shortcomings.

Aaron Hart, an 18-year-old from Paris, Texas, received 100 years in prison for sexually abusing a 6-year-old neighbor. He pleaded guilty to five counts including aggravated sexual assault and indecency by contact, and received two five-year terms and three 30-year terms, which will be served consecutively. Hart is mentally retarded, has an IQ of 47, cannot read or write and speaks haltingly.

Apparently the jury didn’t envision this woefully misguided outcome:

Jurors said they sent the judge notes during deliberations in February, asking about alternatives to prison, but didn’t get a clear answer. They believed the judge would order concurrent sentences, jurors said.

The judge decided to make the sentences consecutive because he “felt” there was no other option:

“In the state of Texas, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with somebody like him,” [Judge Eric] Clifford said.

The young man had no prior felony record. “Aaron is 18, never committed a felony, had no violent record. He couldn’t understand the seriousness of what he did,” said his father, Robert Hart. “I never dreamed they would think about sending him to prison. When they said 100 years – it was terror, pure terror to me.”

My heart goes out to everyone involved here (except Judge Clifford, of course). A child was sexually violated. A mentally retarded person was sentenced to prison for a crime he perhaps didn’t understand was wrong (Hart’s appellate attorneys are arguing that the court-appointed physician performed tests on Hart assessing mental illness, not mental retardation). And a jury tried to render an appropriate sentence but was stymied by a lazy judge and a justice system ill-equipped to handle mentally retarded criminals. How is it possible in this day and age that Hart’s only option is lifetime imprisonment?



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88 thoughts on “Mentally Retarded Teen Gets 100 Years in Prison for Abuse

  1. He still raped a child.

    “He pleaded guilty to five counts including aggravated sexual assault and indecency by contact”

    I don’t care what happens to him. That child will never trust anyone again and have to live with it their entire life. I feel no pity for any pervert retarded or not. That child had something FORCED INSIDE it and was treated rough enough that this pervert was charged with AGGRAVATED sexual assault.

    The parents should be charged for not enforcing right and wrong. My brother works with mentally challenged people and that is the FIRST thing they are asked to teach them. He may not know right from wrong but that child will never be right again. It will be physically and emotionally wounded for life and it will have an IQ higher than 47 so it will be able to realize what happened to it. Think about that.

    • Cheezy_poof, you ROCK! Spot on! There have been serial child rapists/murderers that were mentally challenged. I.Q. should be irrelevant when it comes to allowing someone to harm others or trying to minimize their actions with some bleeding heart bs. If someone is a danger to others I would think that having a limited capacity for coherent thought would make them much more of a danger. It seems self loathing and totally backwards to dismiss or minimize his crime.

    • We use words like ‘assault’ and ‘molestation’ but in reality it is rape and pain for this baby child. A grown man forced himself inside a child. Before you pity this piece of shit think about that child. He can go in a hospital or a prison I do not care but I think it is a waste of money to keep him alive. That child is eventually going to run out of money for therapy if its parents even have medical insurance. Future claims for certain illnesses may be denied coverage because of the damaged he may have caused internally. Too often society forgets the victim in this case a baby child who was six years old. How tiny were you at that age?

      • Well you don’t know what actually happened. The term sexual assault covers a lot of ground. Details about this case weren’t released, thankfully, so you can’t make comments about things like that. There’s no way for you to know.

        • Aggravated sexual assault is a felony sexual offense governed by state laws, which vary by state. It is typically defined as a sexual assault that maims, wounds, or disfigures the victim.

          I get it i really do but you are talking to someone who was attacked as a child and was told that I should ‘consider the fact that my attacker was abused as a child also’ I asked the cop that told me that if I had a freebie crime also.

      • Sometimes sexual assault is considered aggravated simply due to the age of the victim. And having pity for the perpetrator doesn’t preclude having pity for the victim. You seem to think that feeling pity for someone who doesn’t know that his actions are wrong somehow validates abuse or something. Sorry, but that’s bullshit. It’s terrible that this happened to the child, but that doesn’t change the fact that someone who isn’t old enough to be legally responsible enough to drink is being sent to a state penitentiary for a century for something he didn’t understand. Should he be just let off the hook? No. Should he be placed in a general prison population to rot for 100 years? No. There are treatment facilities where he just may be able to find rehabilitation and learn the consequences of his actions. The child will more than likely recover (the overwhelming majority of abused children do), but that doesn’t make it any better. Just as sending this other boy to prison makes it any better. He should be in a hospital, not Oz.

    • I have worked with mentally retarded individuals before, and you are something of a monster yourself for saying these things. The child is more likely than not more intelligent and more rational than that young man. I’m not saying what he did was completely excusable, but you have to understand that there is absolutely NO WAY to teach him right from wrong. There were several occasions where the children I was working with tried to hurt me badly, and to scold and punish them would only remedy the situation for a couple days at best. Most kinds of severe retardation render the person about as inhibited and intelligent as a wild animal. You can’t hold him or his parents truly responsible because there is nothing they could have done to teach him otherwise. Now he’ll spend a life in prison without ever understanding why.

      As for the child, people can recover from things like that. I know they can, I’ve seen it happen with a very close friend of mine. If her family is supportive and if she can understand that the young man did not know that what he did was wrong, she can heal. If she has kindness and understanding in her heart, she can forgive and move on. She will need counseling and therapy, true, but she is not a lost cause.

      • If there is “NO WAY to teach him right from wrong”, then he can’t function in a civilized society and needs to be locked away. If he can’t be taught right from wrong, he won’t know better about how he’s treated in prison, and prison is as good a place as any other for him.

        I’m sorry, but as the father of a little girl, how “untreatable” a person is will not in anyway prevent me from filling his head with buckshot if he hurts my baby girl. The good news is I’m 100% unbiased in his manner…I don’t care if your IQ is 18 or 180, I’m coming after you to the fullest extent of the law and see that you never see the light of day :)

        • Locked away doesn’t mean put into the general prison population. A secure mental facility where maybe, just maybe, they may be able to actually be rehabilitated to the point where they understand that their actions can hurt other people.

        • I have a mentally retarded brother. He is 17 and walks around naked, and is constantly masturbating. He has an obsession with young children. I am always telling my mother and father that he must be watched constantly. They watch his every move. WHere were this child’s parents. They are the ones who should be on trial. If he has the mental capacity of a 3 or 4 year old then what was he doing alone outside? I agree that he should be placed in some kind of home where there is constant supervision, but he should not be locked away for 100 years.

  2. If he didn’t understand it the first time around due to the fact that he is mentally ill… What’s to say he would understand it the second time around or third? In my honest opinion, I think a prison type environment would be best for him or anyone of the same caliber.

    • I know what he did was terrible, but they could have sent him to an institution where he could actually get help.

      There is no counseling in jail or anything of the sort, and institution would be a much better option than jail.

      • I agree that he should be sent to a facility that can best deal with the tyoe of issues he has bur…umm…you can’t really ‘get help’ for being mentally handicapped. If he has an IQ of 47 he probably doesn’t understand what jail is. Is it fair to send him to a place where he in turn will be sexually assaulted and not understand why? I agree what happened to the child is horrible, but will damaging this person further bring back their innocence? Where were the parents of the child and where were the care givers of the man. Usually people with conditions such as his would have developed behavior patterns by his age that would indicate that this could be a problem.

        • “I agree what happened to the child is horrible, but will damaging this person further bring back their innocence?”
          This is the entire concept of justice – people will be punished for their actions even though it cannot make the victim whole again.

      • Jail doesn’t have counseling and things like that, but prison does. (You go to jail for misdemeanors, prison for felonies.) Prisons are in theory more involved in rehabilitation, while jails are pretty much punitive.

      • On whose dollar, Robin? If it’s my dollar, I’d rather he just be locked away. Again, if there’s no way to teach him, why bother trying?

        Is prison “inhumane”? We have 100,000′s of prisoners there, it’s as good a place for him as any other.

        • You’re more likely to pay for a prison inmate than you are for someone in an institution. State budgets usually account for a certain percentage of mental institution, where as prison are usually paid for by tax. Whether he goes to a prison or an institution you’re probably paying for it either way.

          As someone who works in the mental health field, with adults with mental disabilities, I believe the judge was just too ignorant to try and find any other option. Yes what he did was wrong. That’s not the main problem here. He needs to be in an environment of professionals who know how to deal with his disability. Mental retardation is more debilitating than mental disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome or Autism and just letting him “rot” in prison is not an acceptable answer.

          Imagine if your child (with an IQ of 47) did something terrible, such as shoot someone with a gun. They don’t understand that a gun is bad, they don’t know what a gun is for. They find it, accidentally shoot it and kill someone. Imagine that your child is then given life in prison for manslaughter. You would argue that it’s not right, your child didn’t know what it was doing. At most you’d have them put in a youth detention center or prison. Of course they’d be with other children their own age, they’d be counseled and after how ever many years they’re sentenced you’d hope for them to come out knowing what they did was wrong and not do it again. It would be unimaginable to send a small child to an adult prison. The man in this case is a child in an adult’s body. He didn’t know he did anything wrong, he doesn’t understand why he’s being sent away, and god knows what they’ll do to him in prison when they find out why he’s there. This ruling is horrific and a real set-back for the judicial system.

  3. It’s really frightening for me to imagine what it will be like for him in prison. How is he going to be able to deal with all harassment, isolation, and loads of other issues, while not really understanding what is going on? While what he did was wrong, he needs to be somewhere where people will treat him as someone with a disability and give him the help he needs. Not in prison.

  4. I agree that he needs to be locked up for life but prison is going to be hard for him. IQ and morality are not the same thing and even someone with a low IQ can be taught right from wrong.

    I have an insanely high IQ; does that mean I should be held to a higher moral standard than people with a lower IQ? If I commit the same crime as someone with an IQ of 100 or 130 or 160 should I get a longer sentence because I really should know better? Of course not, that would be ridiculous! Why then should the same thing apply in reverse? Intelligence and morality are not the same thing and I’m quite sure this guy knew that raping and assaulting a young child was not right.

    • Why shouldn’t you be held at a higher moral standard? Everybody is saying how this boy would have to be trained how to recognize right from wrong. Did you have to be?

      I hate what happened to that poor child, I think it’s disgusting, but prison is not the right place for this boy.

      • Everyone has to be trained how to recognize right from wrong. We’re trained as we grow up by our parents, teachers, society, etc. So, yes, even Rhonda with her “insanely high IQ” was trained in morality; it didn’t come naturally. Her point about IQ and morality being two different things is correct. Some serial killers have high IQs, while some people who are mentally disabled participate in charities and don’t rape little children.

    • why is it whenever someone says “I have an insanely high IQ,” my first reaction is “no, you don’t.”

      Probably because I’m a bitch

      • I do actually, it’s in the top one millionth of the population. Not massively relevant in day to day living but since this discussion is about IQ and it’s relationship to a moral compass and because it’s central to my point I brought it up. Generally I don’t mention it because there’s usually some troll somewhere that makes a note of it and brings it up every time I make a typo or misstate a fact.

        • LOL Rhonda you are so gay! I want to throw you in prison for life just for being a conceited bitch who brags about ‘apparent’ (brackets are used on purpose) IQ results over the internet.

          1. IQ means shit – so what, you can figure out a couple of puzzles or word teasers quicker than average – i can definitely see this taking you far in life.

          2. “Generally I don’t mention it because there’s usually some troll somewhere that makes a note of it and brings it up every time I make a typo or misstate a fact.” – I mean cmon, how often do you do this!?

          3. Anyone who legitimately measures their IQ to use to throw in someone else’s face is so damn insecure and morally wrong.

          4. You suck!

        • for being such a super genius, your grammar/sentence structure kind of sucks. I can see why you wouldn’t want to bring it up.

        • You may be smart, but you obviously aren’t intelligent. Storing a bunch of facts and methods is useless unless you can actually think. And your point about morality and intelligence being detached, bullshit. It takes a higher level of comprehension to discern right from wrong. Stupid people can get the basics, average people understand why, and intelligent people can see and understand the finesse of the complexities some problems present.

          This young man unfortunately falls below the line of getting the basics and prison won’t help. Because you fail to realize that not all people are the same and that the rules must sometimes be bent, I’d chalk you somewhere up with the stupid people who only see black and white and don’t know why the world is monochromatic.

          P.S. Take your dictionary and abacus and shove them up your ass so they can keep your head company.

        • Haha, I LOL right now! I *almost* thought Rhonda used an alternate email address to hate on herself to prove the point about a troll popping up- but I’m not sure. Hey Rhonda haters- she was smart enough to know you would respond- high IQ or coincidence? :P

          I happen to agree with Rhonda by the way. If you are a bad person, your IQ doesn’t matter. Anyone who has known someone with Downs can tell you they are angels on earth. Violently forcing yourself on a child for your own sexual gratification definitely puts this guy in the “bad person” column. I don’t care where he is as long as he can never hurt anyone else and isn’t being hurt himself. His illness should save him from the death penalty and any other un-necessary harm. I just wish every sicko who rapes a child would also never see the light of day.

          And to the poster who has the naked-masterbating-child obsessed brother… I feel very bad for your family. Perhaps your parents should look into a facility that can take the burden and shame of having to “watch him closely” from them. My heart would break into a thousand pieces if that were my son.

  5. Being that “normal” IQ is 90-110, a person with an IQ of 47 is not likely to know that what he did was wrong in a moral sense. If he had been trained properly, he could have known that if he did something like that, other people would be unhappy with him. So it is unlikely that the same thought process occurred as would have with someone with borderline IQ (70s-80s) or with a learning disability (who could have “normal IQ”).
    But by that same token, if he is predisposed to molest children and lacks the capacity or training to know that that is something that a person should not do, I don’t want him out on the street. It’s like “normal IQ” pedophiles who say that it is a sickness they have that makes them do it. That they “can’t help it” so they shouldn’t be imprisoned.
    Sorry but if you are incapable of stopping yourself from molesting children, I feel that’s a reason to keep you in prison forever, not let you out.
    This guy should be locked up. The only question is where. With what he did and his intellectual capacity he may not be safe in jail. But I don’t know what the alternative would be.

    • *Sigh*

      I’m a little tempted to order an I.Q. test for you. Not everyone from Texas is ass-backwards or a cowboy or even a hick. Aspects of our government may suck in some people’s opinions, but aspects of it rock in other people’s (we have some of the better homestead/personal property laws in the US, and we were our own sovereign nation, and many of our -actual- laws ((as apposed to the bastardized versions of the law that corrupt and uninformed politicians and *cough*judges*cough* choose to selectively enforce)) reflect that).

      Regardless of how awesome Texas may or may not be, laying a blanket judgement on a State based upon one asshole just makes you look like an asshole yourself.

      • I’m sorry I roused that reaction out of you. Honestly, I was kidding. I guess that’s hard to portray over the interenet, so, shame on me.

        But I just feel that much of today’s government is rather apathetic about changing out-dated laws, and that is what pisses me off.

  6. Our prison system is not equipped to deal with mentally impaired/damaged people. People with Alzheimer’s can become violent not because of a morality problem but because of damage being done to their brains but the state treats such people as if they were no different than Ted Bundy. Imagine being 75 years old with half your mind gone, having no idea you did anything wrong and being stuck in a cell with some gang bangers. Horrible.

    Someone with an IQ of 47 thinks like a child and perceives children as his peers but he has the normal physical urges of an adult so I am not suprised when this happens. People who are this impaired should be chemically castrated for the sake of society. I know it sounds cruel but it may be the only solution.

  7. “Aaron is 18, never committed a felony, had no violent record.”

    Yeah other then that, you know, multiple rape of a baby.

    To everyone worrying about how he will handle 100 years in prison you needn’t dwell on it. Child abusers/rapists don’t tend to last long in jail and if you really take a moment to think about it you’ll realize that this isn’t a bad thing.

    Why is this person being left alive. Does he offer anything at all to humanity other then a foil to all the decent hard working people out there? The answer is a simple “no”. To argue any other point is banal.

    So instead of him being executed (as painlessly as possible) he is going to be the ward of the state forever, if not in jail (I assume this case will be appealed and with this countries current leaning I’m sure they will find 10 or so people who think its just terrible that this rapist will go to jail) then in a mental institute.

    I prefer my tax dollars to go to.. oh I don’t know.. maybe the victim for therapy etc. so they have at least a snowball in hells chance of getting through and past this horrendous attack.

    As an aside: the “I have an insanely high IQ” does not equal a person not having a high IQ it simply indicates that they have either taken one of those BS online tests (170 holy crap I’m Einstein!) or they simply have no modesty.

      • You were the one suggesting we chemically castrate someone against their will.

        Remember, hostility often is as beauty.
        (Also known as “in the eye of the beholder”.)

        PERSONALLY (note the emphasis) I agree that he should be punished, but punished in a fitting manner regarding his mental capacity. He’s clearly somewhat of a danger to society (albeit a minor, uninetentional one) and whatever care he was or wasn’t receiving at the time isn’t cutting it.

        That being said, while I disagree, I do see how some people could want him punished in a harsher manner, since the rape of a child is a terrible thing. I just agree to disagree, and thank the law for Voir dire.

        • My spelling sucks. And when I said “I agree” it refered merely to the punishment, and not the chemical castration. That’s not something that should be forced upon anyone, in my opinion, although I’m somewhat lenient in some cases, but they all feature repeat offenders, crimes against children, full use of mental faculties, and a lack of remorse, or other, highly specialized circumstances.

    • So your solution is to eliminate anyone who does not sufficiently benefit society?
      Alright then. You’re first. Then all of the mentally ill, children, and cripples?

      Well, I guess you are contributing to my amazement at how ignorant some can be.
      People like you make me ill.

      When you are parent to a mentally ill child, come back and tell me how you feel.

      • Yes because thats exactly what I said.

        No, wait. Its reading comprehension day on the blogs:

        You said: Eliminate anyone who does not sufficiently benefit society.

        I said: Execute a child rapist who will always be a child rapist because of his condition. He has already raped a child. And not just once. It wasn’t an “oh let’s experiment” it was a repeated sexual assault.

        Why keep him locked up forever where he himself will be raped and beat. Is there treatment for a 46 IQ? How much money is going to be spent keeping him fed, clothed, entertained, and well over the next .. 60+ years?

        But to each their own. I guess locking him up and letting him not understand why nor ever letting him out again is the more humane choice.

        Or maybe we could let him go and have him start up rape-a-palooza 09. That’s probably a reasonable idea as well.

        Or we could put him in a minimum security institute where he will always have the chance of escaping and doing that.

        If the solutions I provide scare you, cease thinking about scary/difficult problems, because once you cut away all the BS and PC crap you will find that the answers are visible, obvious and easily implemented.

        Also: Great job on logic fail. I would be first because… I’m a drain on society and fail to provide or produce? Or simply because you are the queen/king of your little murder fantasy and get to decide unilaterally who fits your definition or worthless.

        Until then feel free to assume that I do NOT have a mentally challenged (ill is not the word for an IQ of 46) child or close relative. It will probably help you come to grips with the fact that *gasp* someone might not agree with you!

  8. I was harassed a few times in middle and high school by retarded kids (I have always been exceptionally busty). One time a kid grabbed my butt, but all he got was a parent conference b/c he “didn’t understand.” If you’re going to try and “mainstream” these kids they need to be held to the same standards and with the same consequences as anyone else. A “normal” child would have been suspended for that. My busdriver had his college-aged retarded son on the bus every day and I would have to walk past him while he pointed at my chest or said “Boobies! One, two!” No one ever took him off the bus. I am still furious about what i had to put up with.

    Unless he’s committed somewhere, keep this guy in jail so he can’t hurt anybody else.

    • When I was in grammar school they tried to mainstream these special ed kids and it was kinda scary because they were so much older and some were violent. They need to find a place for these people that doesn’t infringe on other’s safety.

  9. Wow, having a worked with developmentally disabled adults, I’m appalled by some of the comments on here. There are varying degrees of developmental problems, some are higher functioning than others….but then there are others who truly don’t know what they are doing is wrong. Having said that, what if he had downs syndrome? Would some of you feel more sympathetic to him then? Does he have to look retarded?

    And what he did was awful, I’m in no way saying that he shouldn’t be punished for his crimes. However, prison isn’t the place for someone like him.

    P.S. I hope none of you every have developmentally disabled children. Not only is it difficult for the parents, but you have to watch out for predators who prey on people like them. What this man did to that 6 yr old most likely happened to him.

    • Thank you! I think it’s a brilliant insight to acknowledge the fact that this behavior typically is a learned one.

      I have a cousin who is severely mentally retarded, and is not “potty trained.” Whenever he needs to be wiped down, he has an erection (natural for a 21 year old male). He does not, however, know what it implies, or what to do with it. He just responds to the natural sensations of it.

      His parents need to be constantly aware of other people taking advantage of his situation, and thankfully, he HAS turned out to be a productive member of society, hanging clothes on hangers at a store and reshelving items.

      My heart goes out to both victims in the original post’s situation. I could only imagine how this 18 year old boy (not man) learned to use his body in such a violent manner. . .

  10. I have no comment on the content of this story but I suggest that in the future the author of this article refrain from using the term “mentally retarded”…. it’s a very offensive and degrading term not to mention that it makes your article seem less than credible. Even if the teenager has been convicted of a crime he doesn’t need to be labeled in such a demeaning manner. Rather, you might choose to refer to what condition the child suffers from…or just say that they are ‘developmentally delayed’ (mental capabilities also considered part of normal ‘development’).

    • So, does adding extra syllables to a condition somehow make it a more acceptable term for it? What strange alchemy…

      The guy’s retarded. It’s not a pejorative, despite how many people seem to want it to be, but rather a description of state. He’s not ‘delayed’ because he’ll never be able to reach the nominal stage of cognitive development.

      • You might want to look up what retard(ation) means again, Amaranth.

        Delayed and Retarded are synonyms.

        That being said, I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to call someone retarded, especially in a legal context, as long as they are actually retarded and it’s not used pejoratively.

        In the case of the law, it’s important to be able to make clear distinctions about these kinds of things. There are clear guidelines for what makes someone retarded, in a legal sense. There’s nothing wrong with applying them.

        However, if you’re retarded, and you have the mental faculties to determine that you want to be called developmentally delayed, and you communicate those wishes to me nicely, I’ll do my best to honor them. Personal preference is personal preference. However, in general terms (which are sadly sometimes necessary, much like labels) I will stick to “retarded”.

  11. i once took care of a patient in a mental institution. he was mentally retarded. he saw his father hang himself and he was gang raped. he ran away from home and was found naked in a park. he was taken to the mental institution after the cops were called.

    these people are more vulnerable to abuse and violence because they cannot distinguish which is right and wrong and because they are not aware about their rights or that they have any. someone is fondling their genitalia, it’s considered sexual abuse but for them it’s just playing. These people need to be protected and understood.

  12. OK seriously, the term ‘mentally retarded’ is still very much accepted in some parts of the world, including mine, and thus no one has the right to preach otherwise!

    This article is political correctness gone mad. It’s perfectly acceptable to hold an 18 yr old MAN accountable for the rape of a child, regardless of mental condition. However, I think 100 years is a bit excessive. I never understood the point of that; sure the charges add up, but who the fuck is going to live 100 years to carry out their sentence?! Also, a lot of paedophiles of fully sound minds don’t get that long in prison. I agree that prison isn’t the best place for him, he did commit a crime but he’s not mentally competent. How many people dodge prison by claiming to be insane and go to a psychiatric unit instead?? Double standards.

    I’ve worked in a centre for men who have moderate to severe mental retardation and, under the amazing care of the nurses and carers, even though they couldn’t feed or wash themselves, were aware of their limits. People underestimate the mentally handicapped, but it is entirely possible to tell them what is fundamentally inappropriate.

    To be honest, I blame the parents. An IQ of 47 would imply he is severely mentally retarded, and so he should definitely be in an institution that caters for his needs. The article didn’t say whether he was or not, but he really should have been. I don’t mean a psychiatric hospital either, I mean a home for those who are mentally handicapped, with qualified nurses and therapists and activities. Also, as he is so severely handicapped, why was no one looking after him? He could have poured hot water over himself or wandered off by himself; it was irresponsible to even let himself get into that situation.

    I do agree with all of the comments here but I definitely think the parents were some way at fault. Having a handicapped child is a huge responsibility and it’s a terribly unfortunate situation.

    • Using an insane amount of time that a person isn’t going to live past is to avoid having parole hearings that would come with a “life in prison” charge.

  13. I find it interesting to read all these comments and sad at the same time.

    People seem to be so quick to point fingers at someone, for example the parents. Yes, they *should* be watching the boy at all times, but then again there are so many circumstances you don’t know about that could have let to him being without supervision. First of all it is simply not possible to watch someone 24/7. Period. Just speak to those poor mothers who’ve lost their children due to the fact, that they haven’t watched them for 5 minutes only to find them drowned in the pool. Same thing really, isn’t it? Also, the article says that the boy/man was visiting a neighbour. Now why would you watch your handicapped son when he’s just going to your neighbour, who presumably knows all about his condition and will have an eye on him. And why would the neighbour watch the boy all the time when, according to the article “he was courteous, well-behaved and earned money by doing chores for neighbors” and “never acted out sexually”? And yes he could have been put in some kind of care home, but maybe the parents simply didn’t have the money for that. Being from Germany I don’t know how the system in the US works in such cases, but from what I’ve heard and read the parents probably would have to pay some kind of fee for the home. Money which in some cases simply isn’t there.

    The other point I wanted to raise was that people are so quick to put mentally retarded into prison. I mean hello? My neighbour has two mentally delayed twin sisters (they are basically on the intelligence level of a 6 year old) and I would loathe to see them in prison just because of them doing something criminal, that they might not have understood as being criminal in the first place. Which is the same reason we don’t put children into prison. Yes, we teach them what’s right and what’s wrong, but do they remember all the time? I still shudder when I remember that I swung my dog around on its leash when I was a kid, because I seriously thought it would be fun for her…much like a caroussel. I’ve probably known by this age that this would be somewhat hurtful for any animal, but did I apply the knowledge correctly? no. We have to treat these people differently, because they ARE different. That has nothing to do with political correctness, it’s a moral neccessity. Otherwise we could also say “Hey why do we need wider doors for people in wheelchairs, cause in the end, it’s not my problem” Yes it is. Because the minute you’ve said it, this could be you after having a car accident.

    God, I do ramble, but this is a really emotional topic and I can’t fathom how people can be so simple-minded about it.

  14. The article says “aggravated sexual assault and indecency by contact”. That is a sort of broad catagorization.

    What I would want to know is who would leave thier 5 year old child alone with someone who is that mentally disabled? Sounds to me like the parents of the 5 year old need to share in some of the responsablity of what happened.

    This reminds me of the parents who let their kid stay with Michael Jackson after he had already been accused of simular acts and then couldn’t understand why the same thing happened to their kid….

  15. It’s hard to understand why we cater so much to people who would likely be taken out of the gene pool in, let’s say… rural Africa. What a waste of carbon.

    • Uhh…so my brother is a waste of carbon? Are you fucking kidding me? And by the way, my brother was brain damaged at birth by a doctor (someone I’m assuming had a pretty decent IQ) who used forceps a little to harshly. Thanks to him, my brother is in a wheelchair, has the mind of a 3 year old, has to be dressed, diaper changed, fed…you name it. But you know what? He has taught me so many things, he is the HAPPIEST guy in the world and the best big brother a girl could ask for. In fact, it’s because of him that I started working with the disabled.

      They have a purpose in life, ignorant people such as yourself just can’t seem to figure it out.

  16. Oh hi, here’s an article that spells out what was actually done, since people seem to be jumping to all sorts of crazy conclusions. This one comes from the heart of the Lone Star State, at ground zero, as it were.

    http://lonestarlegalaid.blogspot.com/2009/05/paris-tx-mentally-retarded-teen-serving.html

    http://dallassouthblog.com/2009/04/06/howard-witt-back-in-paris-texas-reports-on-aaron-harts-100-years-sentence/

    Hope y’all are happy! This poor guy gets to continue being violently raped and abused in prison for the rest of his life. A fitting punishment for standing around with his pants down next to another mentally disabled kid.

    • That isn’t the news article it is just another blog. For all we know this is a made up story to see how pissed off people get.

    • Dude…ok, this is officially even more fucked up than I thought. Seriously, after reading this and then looking back at what everyone has been saying about this poor kid…damn I’m glad most of these people aren’t in any position to dictate policy about law. I’m not even sure this “offense” was even court worthy…I’d expect that some stern talking to and training would have been more than sufficient to stop this sort of behavior.

      100 years? Holy fuck…people are ridiculous…

  17. Thank you for commenting on the case. The judicial system overlooks a lot of key items. Yes, what this young man did was wrong. Yes, he should be punish however the course of action taken will condemn this man – who doesn’t underdand the nature of his crime – to a life of torture, rape, and ridicule at the hands of repeated, violent offenders.

    For future reference, Mentally Retarded is outdated. The field refers to people with this type of disability as intellectually disabled.

  18. There really needs to be a middle ground. Clearly, this boy can’t just be wandering around where he can run into children or other defenseless people. But the fact still stands, he’s about as mentally developed as a preschooler. If a preschooler touched another child inappropriately, or did something else that would get harsh punishment for an adult, you wouldn’t say ‘oops, well, they’re a monster, put them in jail.’ If a five year old had somehow been physically capable of doing this, he’d be sent to counseling or perhaps a special school. To say that this boy needs to go and be raped and beaten by a bunch of violent criminals who had done all kinds of premeditated crime is just HEARTLESS and if you think he should be held to the same standards as a mentally capable adult, you should be ashamed of yourself. There surely are places where he can be kept far away from anyone else he might hurt, but still treated as the person he his instead of mustache twirling villain.

  19. The links that Jeremy posted were great! Here is one of them..

    http://dallassouthblog.com/2009/04/06/howard-witt-back-in-paris-texas-reports-on-aaron-harts-100-years-sentence/

    The young man who was imprisoned has been repeatedly raped since being in prison… And Im sure that it is more than oral sex.. One of the first people who has raped him was another inmate who is in for indeasency with a child and only got 8 years. He probably is not retarded.

    It is so bad that the parent of the 7 year old called the parents of the alleged rapist and appologized to them!

    This whole thing is wrong!

  20. Sorry for my crappy writing ability… sigh

    So we all agree any act of sexual conduct towards children is wrong.

    I have read a few links in regards to this story and read that he just stood next to the child (a boy) and that he did or did not penetrate the child. I have also read he has the mental capacity of a six to nine year old but that some people say he cannot talk or can talk but not well.

    Either way the kid that was abused or attacked or whatever has a long road ahead of him and will have to go through a lot of therapy to trust again. After all wouldn’t you assume you can trust a mentally challenged person? I would, just like I would trust an elderly person and or a mother with children more than I would an individual ‘average’ person. People forget that people who are mentally challenged may act like a child (yes, i know not all but some) but they have the hormones of an adult possibly with out the abilty to control or understand them. Both of them need help and what frustrates me is the kid who is the victim (according to some reports (stupid media)) will have to pay for his help. Let’s face it jail is no where for someone who is dying, elderly or mentally challenged. However psychiatric prisons can be more violent and filthy than the worst prison. Both of them have lost their innocence and their lives.

    bone to pick

    As for those of you who say someone can ‘get over’ being raped or molested. Yah, in a way you can but that doesn’t mean it is easy. I was abused as a kid and to this day the whiff of a perfume or cologne makes me gag and panic, cowboy boats make me angry and sometimes i can’t handle even holding hands. I am a functional member of society and can honestly tell you, you don’t get over it you learn to live around it because those around you cannot handle your pain. I forgive my attackers on an intellectual level but I am still a six year old kid somewhere inside that is angry that an adult hurt me. Like I said trust is hard thing to relearn.

    • I’m not saying you’re wrong, because what defines abuse varies from person to person, but from what I’ve read about the case I HIGHLY doubt the victim has a long road ahead, it doesn’t sound like there was any breach of trust to make the child have difficulty trusting again. Once again, I can’t speak for the child, but from what I’ve seen there isn’t anything all the traumatic. The stories never mentioned anything about the boy being touched or forced to touch or anything more untoward than some public nudity.

      And, while I’m sorry that you’ve had such a hard time of recovery from abuse, but that doesn’t mean everyone does. I was the victim of abuse and I honestly don’t even really think about it anymore (and when I do it’s not really an issue in my life today). But then, as I’ve said, what is not abuse for some is traumatic for others. My sister was violently raped, and while it took her time to completely deal with it, she’s fine now. Then again I know people who’ve simply been groped that have had major issues as a result. So, how the child feels is anyone’s guess…but I really doubt the issue is as dire as you’re making it sound.

      • It must be wonderful to get over things entirely and easily. I wouldn’t say I have had a hard time getting over my abuse. What I was trying to say is you look and act normal for a long time before you actually are and as we don’t know what happened to to this kid and as there are conflicting stories online about it we never will. I was saying I feel sorry for him.

  21. None of the articles I’ve found online indicate that whatever this boy did was violent in any way…people are assuming because he was charged with aggravated assault it was violent, which normally would be a decent assumption, but in this case it is apparent the prosecution took advantage of his mental capacity and propensity to plead guilty to charge him with everything the law would allow, when in fact only a single charge of sexual indecency by contact would have been appropriate from what can be determined from the reports. His family is seeking a retrial on the grounds that his defense was incompetent.

    • Granted, I’m not a lawyer…but still. From what I can see the prosecution was determined to “make an example” of sex offenders and just went off the handle.

  22. What ever they are going to do they need to do it quick and some people need to get involved! The older “Child” which from what I hear are both mentally challenged, is being raped by inmates constantly and there is no one to help him…

    What is happening to him is not JUSTICE !!! I think the judge needs to be put in there and let him be raped repeatedly to see if he thinks it is justice!

    I can just imagine someone with the mentality of a 7 year old being bent over and fucked without mercy by black men, we know how big they are, and this is being called justice!!!

    Even the parents of the little boy who was supposedy molested parents have called the parents of the accused rapest and are appoligizing……….

  23. I wish we had the complete article at the beginning. You can see in the comments how the tide turned once we found out what really happened was not as terrible as we thought (still not good). Had the original link been available we could have had a real discussion instead of one based on partial facts.

  24. Wow this is bullshit. 100 years in prison to a mentally challenged teenager? the other kid probably wont even remember what happened to him if he was just 6.

  25. Let me make some points of how I believe it should be handled..

    If this is a case of someone with sever mental disability then the person in question should have therapy, but only after the reproductive system is either removed or dismantled in the persons body…

    I’m not saying cut off the penis or sew up the vagina, I am speaking of the removal of the hormones and the blocking of any type of ability to continue the reproductive behavior, ie tying female tubes, or vasectomy in a male. This will decrease the hormonal fluxuations that might help decrease the desire. Mental therapy would be needed. This also will prevent any type of pregnancy, as because I am against people with severe mental disabilities (it would be on a case to case basis ) being allowed to reproduce.

    My aunt has a child which is my age (32) and has the iq and abilities of a 4 year old.. she made the decision to remove her ovarian system she she cannot have children because she would be able to properly care for them.. It is when people use both their head and heart to make those types of decisions that the right choice is made.

  26. Absolutely it is terrible what happened to the child. Nothing like that should ever happen to a child. But if a 8 year old sexually assults another 8 year old, do any of you think the 8 year old that did the sexual assult should go to prison for 100 years. I would like to know what is the difference when one is 18 mentally retarded and have the mind of an 8 year old. Should he be locked away with hard core criminals if he can not understand what it is he did wrong. Maybe something simular was done to him or he saw it on tv and not fully understand that it is wrong to do to someone else. I worked at a facility that cared for the mentaly retarded and I know that some had the mental understanding of a toddler. chimical castration Like this facility where I worked could have been another option so the mentall challenged man would have no more desire for sex.

  27. The article should be titled: “teen gets 100 years in prison for abuse”. As a person who has battled autism, I take great exception to the connection between mental conditions and the kind of vile atrocity reported here. I am also very dissappointed by the number of comments which appear to be in agreement with the connection. Some comments appear to be using his mental condition as a mitigating factor. Other comments appear to be suggesting that mentally retarded people are generally to be mistrusted. Yes Daniela. That is cruel. And very narrow minded. Are you saying I should heve been chemically castrated simply for having mental health conditions. I would appreciate an answer. Any of the narrow minded contributers, such as Daniela, like to explain to me why? Have you got the bottle? I would suggest that you read MymaJane’s heart rending entry. The other tragic consequence of the spurious connection between mental retardation and sexual crimes is the potential for scapegoating. A mentally sound sex offender could very easily go unsuspected because he is “normal”. At 7 yo I was an inpatient in a mental health ward at a children’s hospital to try to heal me of autism. One night I was followed into the boy’s toilets and indecently assaulted. NOT by a fellow autistic patient. (sorry to dissappoint the narrow minded). But by a male nurse who showed no signs of mental retardation. Far from making me a potential sex offender, my mental condition made me more vulnerable to sexual attack.

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