Only 18 months

Dear Editor,
Did you know that a 33-year-old man who seduces your 15-year-old daughter has committed only a misdemeanor? And that his only punishment may be 18 months of probation and sex offender classes—after which he is removed from the sex offender registry?
Apparently the District Attorney prosecuting Travis Buck for statutory rape considered it so unlikely that he’d get a conviction in this county that he was better off giving Mr. Buck this plea deal—a mere slap on the wrist for sexually assaulting a child. Did the DA think a conviction so unlikely because a Ouray County jury would sympathize with this statutory rapist? Really? Or was the investigation into the crime so belated and sloppy that the DA lacked the necessary evidence to convict?
Whether it was the expectation that our citizens will not hold a rapist accountable or our law enforcement agencies not taking sexual assault complaints seriously, we cannot continue to let rapists walk away from such crimes with no serious consequences.
According to the family, Mr. Buck has since repeatedly violated a Protective Order by continuing to see the child. Though the family reported several violations to the Sheriff’s office, only one such violation has made its way to court, with a hearing set for June 14. We must do all we can to ensure that at least this violation receives a serious sentence.
Do we really want to tell the men in this county that they can violate our children with impunity? That law enforcement, the judicial system and citizens will join hands to protect the rapist, not the child?
 
Paula James
Ridgway