Reinforcing the belief that justice isn’t blind, a Pennsylvania judge lightened the sentence of a sexual predator because the man was a renowned professor who did “important work” with victims of stroke and brain injuries.
University of Pennsylvania professor Tracy McIntosh, 52, pleaded no contest to a charge that he forced himself on his semi-conscious victim in 2002 after drugging one of her drinks, reported Philadelphia Daily News columnist Elmer Smith.
But Judge Rayford Means of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas apparently was impressed by McIntosh’s credentials and ignored sentencing guidelines calling for five-to-11 years in prison, Smith said.
McIntosh, a former Fulbright scholar, was placed under house arrest for up to two years, plus 12 years’ probation.
He resigned in December as director of Penn’s Head Injury Research Center.
Means said that in his sentencing decision, he “factored in McIntosh’s important work with stroke victims and brain injuries,” the Philadelphia paper reported.
But the 25-year-old victim pleaded that McIntosh be sent to jail.
“By raping me, he took something from me that I will never get back,” sobbed the woman, whose name is being withheld by the Daily News. “It will affect me for the rest of my life, and I don’t want this to happen to other women.”
District Attorney Lynne Abraham will ask Means to reconsider the sentence. If he refuses, she can appeal it.
“But, for now,” said Smith, “Means has sent a clear message that some people are too important to go to prison for the kind of crimes mere mortals rot in jail cells for.”
Abraham told Smith decisions like that make it harder than it already is to get women to appear in court and “be subjected to cross-examination and testify about something horrible.”
“[The accuser] does that, and our office asks for the absolutely appropriate sentence, and we still don’t get what justice demands in a case like this,” Abraham said.
The prosecutor said she will present evidence from an internal Penn probe documenting a pattern of allegations by female co-workers against McIntosh, a married father of two teenage daughters.
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