By DAVID BOOTH . . . Luke Heimlich made headlines this week after a missed registration deadline presented the Oregonian with an opportunity to revisit his past misdeed. Until his past was dredged up, Luke, a rising college baseball player, was slated to be a first day pick for the major league amateur draft. Predictably, there was immediate backlash with people crucifying Luke for his supposed duplicity and calling for more punishment. Then on Friday, Luke released a statement in which he excused himself from playing in the super regionals. The extremely harsh public reaction to Luke’s criminal history merely highlights our distorted view of crime and punishment today, but to what end?
As a teenager, Luke plead guilty for inappropriately touching a 6-year-old he knew. He was sentenced to 40 weeks in a juvenile detention facility, but the sentence was dropped after Luke completed both sex offender treatment and two years of probation. In a statement released Friday, Luke remarked he was “grateful” for the counseling he received.
We ought to accept Luke’s responsibility and calm down. This isn’t an “either.. or” situation. The criminal legal system has a responsibility to both parties. We can be deeply troubled by the harm caused to the 6-year-old, and we shouldn’t minimize the impact of the harm. We should also agree Luke met his legal and moral obligations for his past transgression.
As Oregon State President Ed Ray reiterated, “this case involves a criminal matter that was previously addressed by the judicial system in the state of Washington.” Luke admitted to and took responsibility for his actions. What we shouldn’t agree to is Luke’s endless public flogging.
Please read the remainder of David’s post here.
David Booth is Executive Director of the Sex Law and Policy Center.