A district judge in the US state of Kansas called the 13-year-old victim in a sex abuse case an "aggressor" and gave her abuser a reduced prison sentence, according to the Kansas City Star.
Leavenworth County District Judge Michael Gibbens sentenced Raymond Soden to five years and 10 months in prison after he was convicted of soliciting a 13-year-old girl for sex on Facebook. It's less than the 13 years called for in Kansas's sentencing guidelines.
Soden originally pleaded "no contest" to "soliciting a 13-year-old girl on Facebook, offering to pay the girl for nude photos of her and her friends as well as sex acts with her and her friends," according to a 2018 report from the Kansas City Star.
In his comments before sentencing, Gibbons characterised the 13-year-old girl, who traveled to Soden's house with the apparent reason of taking money for sexual favours, as an "aggressor" in the case, reported the paper.
"I think that a 13-year-old who offered what she offered for money is certainly an aggressor, particularly since she's the one that had to travel to Mr. Soden," Gibbons said.
Gibbons also made the same comment about a 14-year-old girl who went with the 13-year-old to Soden's house.
"I do find that the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct," Gibbons said, according to the outlet. "They were certainly selling things monetarily that it's against the law for even an adult to sell."
The judge also commented on the victim noting that she felt "uncomfortable" in the situation. "And so she's uncomfortable for something she voluntarily went to, voluntarily took her top off of, and was paid for?" he said, according to the Kansas City Star.
Deputy County Attorney Joan Lowdon, the attorney handling the case, pointed out during oral arguments that a 13-year-old could not consent to the physical contact between her and Soden. The age of consent in Kansas is 16.
"She was also a 13-year-old who under our laws can't consent to anything," Lowden said.
The Leavenworth County Attorney's office is considering an appeal, according to the Kansas City Star.
Gibbens has been a county judge since 2008. His current term ends in 2023.
A representative for Gibbens didn't immediately respond to INSIDER's request for comment.
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