Even though 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich of Louisville wasn't charged with contempt of court after violating a court order by tweeting the names of two teens who sexually assaulted her, she's still had to cope with the fact that her attackers were offered an exceedingly lenient plea deal. That deal, according to a public accusation that Dietrich's attorney Thomas Clay levelled against chief prosecutor Paul Richwalsky, was allegedly so lenient because Richwalsky serves on the Alumni Board of Trinity High School, which the boys attended at the time of the assault.
According to the Courier-Journal, the deal proffered by chief prosecutor Paul Richwalsky included 50 hours of volunteer work and ensured that the boys' convictions would be erased when they each turned 19½ if they completed a diversion program. It was after Judge Angela McCormick Bisig lifted the case's cone of confidentiality that Clay accused Richwalsky, chief prosecutor in the juvenile court division of the Jefferson County attorney's office, of offering the boys "favored treatment" in the form of a plea deal that deputy division chief of the public defender's juvenile division Emily Farrar-Crockett described as "completely unheard of."
Farrar-Crockett noted the gross irregularity of certain elements in Richwalsky's deal, elements, she explained, that are at odds with the serious nature of their sexual assault conviction. For instance, the deal calls for the boys to be "committed/probated" to the Department of Juvenile Justice, but the law doesn't allow for probation with such a serious offense and Farrar-Crockett said that it was "disturbing to everyone" that Richwalsky included it. She also said that the deal referred to assessment, counseling and treatment "if found to be required or necessary," but treatment for a sexual offender is de rigeur according to Farrar-Crockett, so it's odd that Richwalsky included it in the deal as if it'd be conditional. As for the 50 hours of volunteer work, Farrar-Crockett deemed that element of the deal "offensive" for a sexual assault.
Dietrich, Farrar-Crockett added, was never told about the fact that the boys could expunge their records when it was time to head off to college. If, however, the deal wasn't sickeningly lenient already, it turns out that Richwalsky also, if Clay's allegations prove true, acted like boor throughout the proceedings, making "derogatory" comments about Dietrich, a teenage girl, and accused her of being "delusional" when she claimed not to know about the plea deal.
Richwalsky was a member of Trinity's 1953 Society — the most prestigious level of donors — from 2010-2011, and Clay says that his team have "things now which I believe give rise to the appearance of impropriety." The judge is set to accept or reject the apparent special alumni discount plea deal by September 14, by which time we all may learn a little lesson about our wonderful justice system and the way it prosecutes sexual assault.
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