On Friday, Wapello County, IA attorney Gary Oldenburger defended the light sentence he gave to a man who viciously raped a 2-year-old girl and filmed the act, saying the victim's parents asked him to go easy on the attacker.
The Ottumwa Courier reported that Oldenburger said in a statement that he gave now-19-year-old Kraigen Grooms a ten-year suspended sentence and five years probation rather than a 24-year sentence because the victim's parents asked that Grooms not be sent to prison.
The parents' wishes, the attorney said, were "one of the most significant factors affecting the outcome of this case.”
“Their primary concern was that [Grooms] receive treatment," Oldenburger said. "While the Wapello County Attorney’s Office does not allow victims to dictate how we prosecute a case, the victim’s concerns and desires are taken into consideration in every case, and they had a strong influence in this case.”
Grooms was 16 when he carried out the assault on an unnamed toddler. The video was found by investigators on a possession and distribution of child pornography case of an offender in New Orleans and another in Ireland. When detectives found the horrifying video, they were ultimately able to identify Grooms as the attacker in 2014.
Olbenburger said that while he understands the outrage around Grooms' slap-on-the-wrist sentence, the youth had already spent 860 days in jail when he was sentenced and he will have to remain on a sex offender registry for the rest of his life.
Radio Iowa quoted Oldenberger as saying, "In this situation, the parents of this victim were very insistent that Mr. Grooms not spend time in prison or a lot of time and in jail and were mainly concerned that he get treatment and that he would be on the sex offender registry. So, that was a big factor early on in our decisions about the case.”
Federal prosecutors declined to prosecute Grooms because he was a minor at the time of the assault. Grooms struck a plea deal with the state of Iowa on July 25, saying that he was tricked into performing the acts by the New Orleans child pornographer, who was posing as a teen girl in his interactions with Grooms.