(MTN News-GLASGOW) More than 100 survivors of sexual assault have signed on to a letter asking for the impeachment of the eastern Montana judge who sentenced a Glasgow child rapist to probation.
UltraViolet, a national women’s advocacy non-profit, is calling on the Montana Judicial Standards Commission to remove Valley County Judge John McKeon from the bench and to revoke his pension.
This is the same group who held a protest in Billings in 2015 against Yellowstone County Judge G. Todd Baugh, who sentenced former teacher Stacey Rambold to a month in prison for the rape of a student.
The group, whose mission statement is to fight for equality at a higher frequency, was formed in 2012.
Members of UltraViolet said in a press release that McKeon must be held accountable for “perpetuating rape culture and sending a message that men can rape women and children with impunity.”
Last month, McKeon sentenced Martin Blake, 40, to probation for the rape of a 12-year-old girl.
A petition began circulating on the website Change.org just days after the sentencing, asking for McKeon to be impeached.
That petition now has more than 230,000 signatures.
McKeon previously defended his sentencing order, arguing that he relied on testimony from a psycho-sexual evaluator for his decision to place Blake in community treatment.
McKeon also pointed to testimony given by the victim’s mother and grandmother, who said Blake did not deserve to be in prison and argued that his sons would be unfairly punished by the absence of their father.
“When judges like John McKeon prioritize the well-being of rapists over the survivors of their crimes, they are in effect normalizing sexual violence against women and sending the wrong message that men can rape women and children with virtual impunity. This is unacceptable,” said UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas.
A copy of the letter sent by UltraViolet to the Commission can be found here.
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Reporter: Aja Goare