Stephen Dalton Baril is a rapist. pic.twitter.com/kTElObGSeT— Chris (@the_ceejay) July 31, 2018
The grandson of former Virginia Gov. John Dalton managed to escape prison time after being accused of rape.
Stephen Dalton Baril, the grandson of the Republican who served as governor between 1978 and 1982, saw his charges reduced from felony rape and felony sodomy to misdemeanor sexual battery and felony unlawful wounding on Friday. The charges were reduced thanks to an Alford plea, which allows the criminal to not admit guilt while acknowledging that there’s enough evidence for conviction.
Baril, a former University of Virginia student, reportedly attacked a fellow student at his apartment, raping her instead of walking her home in January 2017.
While the victim said she has gone through a “year and a half of hell” because of Baril, she agreed to the plea deal to avoid experiencing trauma again.
"You raped me whether you want to hear it or not," she said. "You robbed me of feeling safe in a city I called my home."
Accepting the plea agreement and calling it a fair compromise, mainly because neither party was happy, Judge Humes J. Franklin sentenced Baril to five years’ supervised probation.
Baril’s attorney, Rhonda Quagliana, said that while she was confident her client would have been acquitted if the case went to trial, given he could face a 10-year minimum sentence if convicted, they opted for the plea deal.
"It is hard to predict and in the face of even the possibility he could have been convicted, he chose to enter an Alford plea," she explained.
Areshini Pather, a deputy commonwealth's attorney for Charlottesville, said she was happy that the case was resolved.
"When there is the ability to reach out across the courtroom and find some commonality in a plea agreement, it's the responsible thing to do," she said.
She also thanked the victim for stepping forward and being brave enough to share her story.
Baril’s father, Steve Baril, is also a Republican who ran for attorney general in 2005 but failed.
It’s not clear whether Baril would have pursued a political career before this scandal took place, or whether his family’s involvement in politics had anything to do with the outcome of this case.
Still, it’s quite disturbing to think that an alleged rapist could get away with not doing any jail time. Without experiencing proper punishment, what will guarantee that the reported attacker won’t hurt others in the near future?
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Sgt M.E. Christain/US Gov.