40-year-old Martin Joseph Blake pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping his 12-year-old daughter and was sentenced to 30 years in prison — however, the sentence will be suspended, thanks to Valley County District Court judge John C. McKeon.
Blake was originally charged with three counts of felony and incest for raping his child on several occasions. Court records state the mother walked in on one of the interactions.
The man had two of the felony charges dismissed in exchange for pleading guilty to one — but despite the horrific admission, he is walking off with only a probation.
Prosecuting attorney Dylan Jensen recommended 100 years in state prison with 75 years suspended, meaning Blake had to go through 25 years in prison. He added that though Blake seemed repentant, he needed to receive a fair and substantial punishment for his heinous crime.
Yet, he has been ordered to spend 60 days in jail, which includes the 17 days he has already served. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
Social worker Michael Sullivan testified that Blake would benefit from the community-based treatment and described him as a “low risk” for repeat offenses. He also said the man would benefit from social support after he lost his family and his job among other things.
Defender Casey Moore also thinks the sentence was appropriate arguing that Blake had apparently “suffered enough.”
“I’m not asking that he be given a slap on the wrist,” Moore said. “He did spend 17 days in jail and he did lose his job,” which will be compounded by the fact that he will be on supervision for life.
Judge McKeon also defended the kid-glove punishment stating it was “quite restrictive” and Blake had support from his family and the church that he religiously attended. The victim’s mother and grandmother, shockingly, were amongst the people who supported Blake, requesting the court to allow Blake to remain in the community.
The offender’s mother and step father have given him a place in their home.
Another supporter wrote that “he was a good father for 12 years,” and another said he was not a monster, but a man who had made a mistake.
This slap on the wrist despite the severity of the crime shows how prevalent rape culture and white privilege is in the American criminal justice system.
News of the sentence has caused an outpouring of condemnation.
“Holy f******* s***, I must be on some serious hallucinogens because I would swear that says LETTERS OF SUPPORT... FROM THE *VICTIM’S* MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER... ASKING FOR THE RAPIST TO STAY IN THE COMMUNITY,” commented internet user sparklycarklee. “Thanks for all the F****** SUPPORT, Mom and Meemaw. I bet it means so much to your 12-year-old who was raped by a probable family member. I could f****** vomit.”
Another user said, “Ugh...is she his daughter, her mother his wife, and her grandmother his mother? Oh, this poor child. Please get her away from these people, somebody. She will be in my thoughts and I will be sending positive vibes her way for the rest of the day.”
Are you kidding me? 60 days for incest? That is ridiculous... https://t.co/S1S3HoqzOU— Arran McMurrough (@ironhorsedaddy) October 14, 2016
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Jasso