A judge in Kansas is being criticized for sentencing a 21-year-old man convicted of raping an 11-year-old girl in 2013 to three years probation and a suspended jail sentence, KSHB reports.
According to the victim’s foster father — who asked not to be identified to protect his daughters’ privacy — his daughter and her 17-year-old sister snuck out of their apartment last summer to meet two men, one of whom was Steven Bradford. The 11-year-old told Bradford that she was sixteen — the age of consent under Kansas law.
When the 11-year-old told her foster father about that night, he immediately called police, who arrested Bradford.
Prosecutors allowed Bradford to plead no contest to the rape charge, in exchange for treating his sentence as if he had raped an adult instead of a child. They believed he would be sentenced to at least 15 years in prison.
Bradford’s defense argued that because the victim lied about her age — and because Bradford had no previous history of sexually based offenses — he should face significantly less jail time.
Both were surprised when Johnson County Judge James Franklin Davis handed down a suspended jail sentence — meaning that Bradford would spend no time in prison — and three years probation.
The victim’s foster father told KSHB that “I just thought that this was a total miscarriage of justice.”
Prosecutors agreed, immediately filing a motion to have what they believe is an “illegal sentence” under Kansas sentencing guidelines “corrected.”
Bradford was released from the residential center where he was being held while awaiting sentencing just after midnight Tuesday.
Watch a report from KSHB below.
[Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that the incident occurred in Missouri.]