We have a new entry in the Worst Attorney Ever competition: a Nebraska prosecutor who preferred to ignore child porn and talked about women enjoying rape. This and other failings are detailed in a letter written by his exasperated colleagues.
The York News-Times has reprinted the letter, in which a deputy attorney and two office workers chronicle the bizarre and negligent behavior of York County Attorney Bill Sutter. Among the highlights:
- Officials seized child porn from a York County resident's computer, including images that "involved children as young as three years old being sexually penetrated by an adult male." Sutter declined to prosecute the case, saying "I don't really care what people do in their own homes as long as no one gets hurt."
- About an unrelated child porn case, Sutter said,"I probably shouldn't see those [pictures], I wouldn't want them to fall into the hands of some of my friends."
When Mr. Sutter was presented with a case involving a 19 year old man having sex with a 14 year old girl, Mr. Sutter told his secretaries: "You just can't have good clean sex these days". The District Court sentenced that 19 year old man to 2 years in prison for that "good clean sex".
- Sutter discussed the size of his scrotum with his secretary, and told her "she's blonde, so she better be careful."
- After losing a hearing, Sutter commented to the same secretary, "It's like a woman getting raped, eventually you just have to sit back and enjoy it."
The letter also says,
We were very reluctant to come forward and express these concerns because we have been concerned that we might lose our jobs if we spoke out about Mr. Sutter's behavior, and we were also afraid that the behaviors might get worse if we discussed them publicly, and that is why we have tried to keep our concerns to ourselves until this time.
However, Mr. Sutter's rejection of our attempts to change his behavior makes it necessary that we bring these matters to your attention.
Sutter has responded to the charges point-by-point. He said he did not refuse to prosecute the child porn case — rather, he asked to "review all that material before I filed it" because "the worst thing a prosecutor can do is not look at his evidence before he files the charge." In the matter of the rape joke, he says he was quoting Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight. He added, "If that was in poor taste I apologize for it, but it was made in jest in the office." Sutter also said he didn't remember "discussing with Crystal the size of my scrotum. I had been having some health problems, that's true, and at one time I had some heart problems. If I did it was not with any malicious intent or anything like that because I was a sick man." Responding to the letter as a whole, Sutter said,
Obviously some people in my office ... all of them ... don't like me. And that I can't help. I'm not ashamed for anything I have either said or done with them. As to matters that occur that require my decision those are my decisions. I'm the York County attorney and I make those decisions and if they don't agree with them that's too bad because those are my decisions.
They may not be his decisions for much longer. The York County Commissioners has asked Sutter to resign; he refused. They've now started the process for holding a recall election to remove him — if their petition succeeds, the election will be held in November.
Accusations Against York County Attorney Go Public [York News-Times]
Sutter Answers Accusers [York News-Times]
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