This is John R.K. Howard from Idaho. He raped a mentally disabled black teen with a coat hanger & abused him racially. He got no jail time. pic.twitter.com/zM1Kso7YBB— Sean Kent (@seankent) February 27, 2017
A 19-year-old white football player accused of kicking a coat hanger up the rectum of a mentally disabled black teammate walked out of court with no jail time despite pleading guilty to the abhorrent offense.
John R. K. Howard reportedly entered an “Alford plea,” which allowed him to maintain innocence while admitting a judge or jury would likely find him guilty. The prosecutors did not dispute the teen shoved the hanger, but maintained the assault did not constitute a sex crime and was not racially motivated, despite occurring after days of alleged racist bullying and violent attacks.
Idaho District Judge Randy Stoker not only spared the player any prison time, he also discounted the testimony of racist remarks.
Instead, Howard's attorney Brad Calbo accused the victim's parents of making false accusations all for the sake of $10 million lawsuit against the Detrich High School that is still on the table. His narrative was based on an audio recording where the victim told the school coaches, “I don't think you guys should have to lose your farms.”
“It was never my intention. I was fed stuff, fed lies,” he continued.
As it later turned out, two Dietrich football coaches reportedly coaxed the victim into giving the statement. They could also be heard in the background telling how much they loved him and urging him to come clean.
Earlier this month, the victim recanted his statement and said he only lied because he wanted his friends back.
As the NPR notes, the young man referred to his teammates as his “friends” throughout the case – even when he testified about their violent behavior and abuse.
“Can you imagine setting a meeting with a mentally disabled child?” the victim's lawyer Lee Schlender told Times-News. "And you take him and tell him, 'We're going to lose our farm, we're all going to jail, you've got to do something for us.' And recording it? ... It's despicable ... I can't think of a much sicker situation."
The court sentenced Howard to probation and community service – a punishment that might be later dismissed altogether.
RAPIST JOHN R.K. HOWARD RAPES MENTALLY DISABLED BLACK TEEN AND GETS COMMUNITY SERVICE pic.twitter.com/Onxl1lO8Ou— nor there (@aIteritas) December 20, 2016
In yet another disgusting example of white privilege, a high school football player charged with raping a mentally disabled teammate will neither serve any time in prison nor be listed as a sex offender — apparently because he has a lighter skin color than his victim, who just happens to be African American.
John R.K. Howard, originally charged with “forcible sexual penetration by use of a foreign object,” pleaded guilty to a lesser felony charge of injury to a child, thus avoiding any jail time for the heinous crime he allegedly committed last year in the locker room at his former high school.
As the reports suggest, Howard and two of his teammates at Dietrich High School in Idaho lured their mentally disabled black teammate, Antwon McDaniel, in to the locker room under the pretense of giving him a hug.
The Idaho attorney general’s office claimed the assailants held the victim down and Howard shoved a wire coat hanger into McDaniel’s rectum, kicking it “five or six” times, causing a lot of pain and internal damage.
The horrible assault came after several days of racist bullying at school.
Students and other members of the football team called McDaniel “Kool-Aid,” “chicken eater,” “watermelon” and the n-word, according to the lawsuit filed by the teen’s family. They also allegedly taught him the lyrics to a KKK song glorifying lynching of the black people.
Moreover, as The Washington Post reports, the victim and “his adopted siblings are the only black people in Dietrich, a rural town of 330 in southern Idaho.”
If convicted in trial, Howard faced the possibility of life in prison. However, since he submitted an Alford plea (a guilty plea in criminal court that allows defendant to not admit the criminal act and assert innocence), the 19-year-old will be sentenced two to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service.
He would probably be able to complete his sentence in Texas, where he now lives.
“Based on continuing investigation throughout this case — interviewing of witnesses, speaking with the victim and getting a better picture of what happened in this case — the state believes this is the appropriate charge,” said Deputy State Attorney General Casey Hemmer. “It was egregious behavior, it caused this victim a lot of suffering, but it is not, in my view, a sex crime, which is why the state has amended this charge. We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Mr. Howard to suffer the consequences of a sex offender, but he still needs to be held accountable.”
So, to put it simply, the mentally disabled black teen will have to live with the agony and trauma he suffered, but his assailant would not only not be punished accordingly, he could even have his conviction dismissed altogether if he doesn’t violate probation or commit any other crimes during the time.
“In our culture there is an acceptance of toxic masculine energy, which is defined by domination, aggression, and domestic and sexual violence,” wrote local activist group, Idaho Coalition against Sexual & Domestic Violence, in a Facebook post. “The young man who was brutally penetrated was viewed as less than our dominant culture “ideal” of masculinity. This was a sex crime.”
The group also called out the apparent racism in the case.
“Deputy Attorney General Hemmer’s actions and statements dehumanize the young man who was heinously penetrated and fuels and sanctions our culture of sexism, racism, able-ism, domination, aggression, and violence, and in turn, the Office of the Idaho Attorney General is complicit in state-sanctioned sexism, racism, able-ism and violence,” the statement continued. “Nothing short of a complete retraction by the Attorney General of Hemmer’s outrageous actions and statements and immediate action against Hemmer will be acceptable.”
While the other two attackers are facing charges in juvenile court, McDaniel’s family has a $10 million lawsuit pending against the school district and several administrators and coaches. The family’s attorney, R. Keith Roark, said the plea agreement was met with “bitter disappointment and outrage.”
It’s absolutely preposterous that this kid should walk away with apparently no punishment whatsoever,” he said. “Everyone is more concerned with these young sociopaths than the victim of their violence.”
Thumbnail and Banner Image Credits: Reuters