Kentucky — On his way out of office, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin dropped a huge batch of pardons and commutations of sentences of hundreds of Kentuckians. While some of these people were rotting in jail for weed convictions or other victimless crimes, many of the pardons consisted of violent criminals and child rapists.
Some of the people on the governor’s list of pardons include Blake Walker, who was convicted in 2003 of killing his parents; Kurt Smith, who as a teenager was found guilty of murdering his 6-week old son; Delmar Partin, who was convicted of beheading a woman and stuffing her in a barrel; Kathy Ann Harless, who left her newborn baby to die in an outhouse; Dayton Jones, who was convicted in 2016 of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy; Patrick Baker, who convicted of reckless homicide in 2017; Paul Donel Hurt, who was serving a life sentence for sexually abusing and sodomizing a 6-year-old girl; Doug Phelps, who pleaded guilty to child porn, and Micah Schoettle, convicted last year of raping a child and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Doubling down on his decision to pardon these violent criminals and child rapists, Bevin went on the radio this week to defend his decision. He focused in on the child rapist Schoettle to make his case. Referring to the rapist’s 9-year-old victim and her sister, Bevin said that because their hymens were intact, no rape took place.
“Both their hymens were intact. This is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me. If you have been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically,” Bevin said.
No one here is arguing that some folks don’t deserve second chances and that innocent people go to jail all the time, but pardoning a man convicted for raping a 9-year-old girl “because her hymen was intact” is horrifyingly stupid.
The former governor is now under fire from forensic experts and scientists — and rightfully so — who aptly noted that scientists have debunked the notion that inspecting a child’s hymen can prove whether they were sexually assaulted. What’s more, experts have found that most survivors of child sexual abuse do not have any physical damage.
“Bevin’s claim is flatly incorrect,” Dr. George Nichols, who was Kentucky’s chief medical examiner for 20 years and who later started the child abuse evaluation system at Kosair Children’s Hospital, told The Courier Journal.
“Rape is not proved by hymen penetration,” Nichols said. “Rape is proved by phallic penetration … where the vaginal lips meet the outer surface of the vagina.
“He not only doesn’t know the law, in my humble opinion, he clearly doesn’t know medicine and anatomy.”
Nichols added that he worked for six consecutive governors as chief medical examiner, “and fortunately I didn’t have to report to that a–hole.”
As the Journal reports, according to Forensic Science International, a peer-reviewed journal, a survey of pediatric child abuse rape cases indicated that only 2.1% of subjects examined had visible lesions on the hymen.
“Even the defense experts testified they would not expect to find an injury in the victim’s sexual assault exam,” Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders, who prosecuted the 2018 case against Schoettle and has called for an investigation into Bevin’s pardon, said in a text message. “This was the subject of an eight-hour court hearing Matt Bevin obviously never watched.”
Sanders went on record stating that the governor likely took orders directly from Schoettle and never once consulted anyone before making his brash decision. Sanders has since called for an investigation into Schoettle’s release.
“Rape cases, child molester cases, murder cases where the victims have all been done a grave injustice by our former governor, and it’s disappointing. I was someone that supported [Bevin] and believed in him, and I’m disgusted in myself for having done so,” Sanders said.
“Matt Bevin never contacted me. Never contacted anyone from my office. Never contacted law enforcement. Never contacted victims. I have a very hard time believing he knew anything other than what Micah Schoettle wanted him to know,” Sanders said.
“He’s not a registered sex offender. He’s not under supervision. He’s not going through sex offender treatment. It’s like it never happened other than the fact that we all know it did,” Sanders said. “Do you think we can cure sex offenders? I don’t. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve never known sex offenders to be cured. At best, they can be taught to control their urges, but no, this guy hasn’t been in long enough to even begin sex offender treatment, much less finish.”
Now, because of one governor’s ignorance and possible other nefarious reasons, a man convicted of horrifically raping a 9-year-old girl and multiple other convicted pedophiles and murderers are free.
But when we live in a country that pardons war criminals while journalists and whistleblowers rot in cages, what else would you expect?