Colorado Judge Patrick Butler turned justice completely upside down to keep the 22-year-old – now convicted – campus rapist out of prison for sexually assaulting a drunken girl. Austin Wilkerson was convicted of both unlawful sexual contact and sexual assault of a helpless victim, but got no time in prison.
Austin Wilkerson’s sex crimes are a Class 3 felony in Colorado, which warrants real imprisonment for four to twelve years, but can stretch into lifetime imprisonment through the crime’s “indeterminate sentencing” penalty, which is reserved for only the most serious offenses.
That’s right, Judge Butler sentenced a criminal facing indefinite detention if his original sentence isn’t enough to rehabilitate the offender, straight into a work rehabilitation program.
He didn’t even order psychological evaluation of the convicted rapist while on release.
Today, Judge Butler completely ignored the testimony of Wilkerson’s victim at the sentencing hearing, when she begged the judge to have as little mercy for the former “big man on campus” as he had for her and gave Austin Wilkerson a 2-year work release sentence in a county jail, and a 20-year probation.
The judge totally ignored the fact that Wilkerson committed his sex crime because was furious because he had made several earlier advances, “but that she rebuffed him each time, and that he felt ‘pissed off’ and called her a ‘fucking bitch.’”
The judge ignored the facts of the case which indicated that Wilkerson isolated his victim who was intoxicated and nearly unconcious, and promised her friends he would ‘take care of’ her,’ making sure they saw him checking her pulse and giving her water.
Then raped her, and then lied about the assault.
He lied until the bitter end.
Austin Wilkerson made a perfunctory apology to his victim only after being convicted in an obvious ploy for leniency.
That’s when Judge Patrick Butler stepped in to save his life, when he completely ignored the prosecutors who recommended a lengthy prison sentence, instead sending Wilkerson off to a county jail until beginning his two years of work release followed by 20 years probation.
But Judge Butler chose to ignore the mountain of evidence and forgive Wilkerson, who callously blamed the victim for being attacked in his well funded defense by claiming that she was trying to deflect a bad report card. Local news reported Judge Butler as saying:
“I’ve struggled, to be quite frank, with the idea of, ‘Do I put him in prison?'” Butler said, adding that he spoke to people in the prison and jail system about what kind of treatment Wilkerson would receive. “I don’t know that there is any great result for anybody,” Butler said. “Mr. Wilkerson deserves to be punished, but I think we all need to find out whether he truly can or cannot be rehabilitated.”
Apparently, Judge Butler that he thinks zero prison time is the appropriate deterrent to campus sexual assault even though a study of 13,000 women at Colorado University showed that a shocking 28% percent of college women in Boulder reported unwanted sexual contact ranging from unwanted touching to rape.
Perhaps Judge Butler was swayed by Wilkerson’s callous supporters, who sent letters asking the judge to ‘take into account the impact the case has already had on his future when doling out a sentence,’ with such platitudes like, “I think he is a young man that will go far in this world if not defined by this one incident.”
Of course Wilkerson’s supporters highlighted the pain of the rapist from standing trial for committing a sex crime, “The most traumatic incident that Austin has faced is this sexual assault case.”
Judges have no business giving light sentences to convicted rapists for any reason.
The sad fact is that an educated rapist is far more of a threat to society than a mere simpleton, and an affluent rapist is even more of a threat due to the greater capacity for deception, and the financial heft to fight legitimate charges.
Bundy’s mind snapped after he too was rejected legitimately by a woman he loved.
Judge Butler’s inexplicable, forever long probation sentence for Austin Wilkerson is nothing more than a new form of affluenza, a get out of jail free card, yet another slap on the wrist in a nation where three rapists in a hundred will ever see jail time, and hardly equal protection under the law for the victim, or in comparison to most sentences for such a serious crime.
While it’s unlikely Judge Butler will likely not face any sort of criminal charges like this Maryland judge who was convicted of wrongfully tasering a prisoner in court, nor is this story a case about judicial abuse of the First Amendment like the infamous censorship loving Florida judge Mark Mahon, but make no mistake, unequal application of the law gives a free pass to sex crimes.
And Judge Patrick Butler’s sentence amounts to nothing short of a pardon compared to cases like Clarence Moses-El who was just released after serving 28 years in prison for a sex crime he did not commit.
His original sentence was 48 years in prison.
Austin Wilkerson may never see the inside of a prison for his crime.
If readers may wish to express their disappointment in Judge Butler’s decision and file a grievance (and not make any form of threat, but please, then take a moment to fill out one of these complaint form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact his chambers directly by calling 303-441-3726 where you can leave a message or you can send an email to the judge at Caitlin.Hawksley@judicial.state.co.us.