Area citizens outraged at judge’s words

Letters to the editor

Editor’s note: John Jacobs, 21, of Clovis, on Thursday entered an Alford plea — maintaining his innocence while admitting sufficient evidence exists to convict — to a charge of attempted criminal sexual penetration. Jacobs had been acquitted of a charge he raped Stacey Patterson in Portales, but faced four more rape trials in Clovis prior to working out the plea agreement.
District Judge Teddy Hartley sentenced Jacobs to 18 months probation. During sentencing, Hartley told the courtroom:
“There’s no right or wrong person here; they’re both in the wrong.”
The following letters are in response to those and other comments the judge made, which were reported in Friday’s Clovis News Journal.

Judge needs to know no always means no
After attending Thursday’s sentencing hearing, I was appalled to hear the judge place blame on the victim with his statement, “There’s no right or wrong person here; they’re both in the wrong.”
I would like to ask how the victim is in the wrong.
No one asks to be raped. I think the judge needs to be educated on the crime of rape.
As for his statement, “I think the victim perceived she could go almost all the way and then Mr. Jacobs would support her wishes and her character as a friend when she said ‘no,’ ” I say to Judge Hartley:
No means no, no matter the circumstances.
Most people have no idea what a rape victim goes through. Rape is a violent attack. No matter how much physical damage is done, the aftermath is life changing.
We came forward and tried to save other women from having to go through the same pain we deal with every day.
Judge Hartley has sentenced other victims of sexual assault to suffer in silence by placing blame on the victim in this case.
— Stacey Patterson

Sports does not give man the right to rape
The more I read the story … the more appalled I became.
Judge Teddy Hartley is relaying the message that “No doesn’t mean no.”
True, each party should have used common sense. But just because you have to put on a cocky attitude and show that you are sure of yourself to compete in sports, does this give you the right to ignore the denial of a friend when she feels the situation has gone too far?
And then be forced to take the blame?
This really teaches a good lesson: If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, just lay back and don’t say anything because you are wrong, even if you say no.
The judge ignoring a diagnostic evaluation that said Jacobs will likely offend again just makes it less likely for the next victim to come forward.
I fear for all of our daughters, sisters, mothers and female friends being put into this situation and knowing the judicial system is not going to back them when they say no. Instead the system will slap the offender on the hand and say, “Atta boy.”
I am proud of the ladies who did come forward in this situation. And I pray this judge’s decision doesn’t cause future situations to be kept secret because victims feel the system will drop the ball again.
No does mean no — no matter what.
— Cindy Sutherland