Lock this clown up, and throw away the key
You might have missed the headlines. There are so many of these types of cases involving adults taking indecent liberties with children that they can become part of the background noise of life. This one means something to me, because I know the family, and had been waiting for a resolution to this case for some time.
It surprised me to read in the paper this week that the prosecutor told the court that the crime committed by Franklin Riley, 31, hadn’t been reported until earlier this year. I know that to be untrue – I was there when it was reported to sheriff’s office investigators by her family. The report was done as Riley was being investigated for his role in the 2006 murder of J.W. Sword, whose throat was slit and head was nearly severed before being left for dead on a county backroad.
According to the account on NewsLeader.com, Riley was playing on a bed with the girl when he disrobed and molested her. A plea deal was necessary, according to the prosecutor in the case, because of the lack of physical evidence and the victim’s reluctance to testify. The reason for that reluctance: “He threatened to kill her,” the prosecutor said.
So injustice wins again. A murderer gets two years for taking a little girl’s innocence because she fears taking the stand will eventually cost her her life. Wonderful. This guy gets out of jail in nine years. I’m sure the victim and her family feel good about their decision to proceed with reporting what had happened knowing that.
The system did the girl and her family wrong. And it did us wrong, because this loser is going to be back out on the streets before you know it, and he’s already murdered a guy and raped a little girl. How many more people have to suffer before we lock this clown up and throw away the key?
Column by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.