Editorial: Time spent in service doesn’t change the crimeA pretrial diversion handed down by the Stark County Court last week is an insult to all veterans.
A pretrial diversion handed down by the Stark County Court last week is an insult to all veterans.
Charles Rousseau, 47, Walhalla, a member of the Army National Guard, will be on supervised probation for two years for allegedly molesting a girl in a Dickinson hotel.
The gross sexual imposition charge he was facing will be dismissed after five years if he complies with conditions set by the court.
Everyone has their demons — veteran or not — and it does not excuse his “alleged” behavior. “Alleged” because of what the county assistant states attorney says are unusual circumstances, which are confidential.
What about a 47-year-old man inappropriately touching a girl younger than the age of 15 is not unusual?
How would you feel if this was your daughter?
Not only is the ruling an insult, it is unfair to others who are sitting in jail for similar crimes and to this girl who will likely suffer distrust and bewilderment — forever. Unlike Rosseau’s charge, her recollections of being molested will not be dismissed and likely will not go away in five years.
The court did the right thing by consulting the alleged victim before using a pretrial diversion, but it doesn’t lessen the “alleged” crime.
Rousseau served two military tours in Iraq and that contributed to the court’s decision.
“Technically, he’s not sentenced either,” the county assistant state’s attorney said. “Technically the prosecution has been put on hold.”
Because the charge will be dismissed, if (and let’s hope not) something of this nature happens again, will the court have the necessary background to prosecute him as a repeat offender?
This mess in no way decreases our view of veterans and service members. This is one man who made a very poor choice and needs to face appropriate consequences. If a veteran needs counseling, there are many programs out there.
There was enough information to charge him and it seems odd that the system did not follow through.
We have great respect for those in the military, but when it comes down to it, a crime is a crime no matter who you are. Time spent in the service is not a reason not to prosecute.
Dickinson Press Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride sit on the Editorial Board.