August 16, 2009

Sparing the rod: a well-overdue update

United States: Way back in July 2002, we reported on two Texas pastors who had seriously beaten a boy in their care, but neglected to ever follow-up the story. Fortunately, News 8 Austin, a local news channel took a great interest in the case.

The pastors handed themselves in to the police, and were released on bail. It quickly became apparent that the pastors at the church, including the two brothers and their father, preached regularly on the benefits of their peculiar brand of non-consensual sadism.

He would explain how you had to use a rod because the belt didn't do it, because it would just leave lashes. But the rod would get into the soul, would get deep down into the skin, she said. ...

Everybody had a different way of telling you how the will is broke, she said. Some of them would say the will is broke if they don't move anymore; some of them would say the will is broke if they just faint, if you just spank them until they have no more energy. And I left because I just couldn't take it.

The case came to trial in December 2003 where the jury heard that the boy suffered kidney damage as a result of the beating. They were shown pictures of his injuries, including serious bruising to his back and legs. The defence seemed to consist of It wasn't us, honest.

The brothers were found guilty on all counts and the defence had the nerve to ask for a non-custodial sentence! They didn't get their wish.

Joshua was given 26 years for injury to a child and 20 years for aggravated assault. He would serve both of those sentences concurrently.

Jurors sentenced Caleb Thompson to 14 years for both counts. He would also serve those sentences concurrently.

Their lawyers' chutzpah came to the fore when one of them said they would appeal because he was worried about the Thompsons being targeted by other inmates in prison because of their religious background and the nature of the crime. I never knew Christians were a minority in Texas! That appeal failed.

The Judge said they would have to serve at least half their sentences before being eligible for parole, which means that Caleb Thompson could be out at the end of this year. Still, there are some people who think that that was too harsh. Must they spend these valuable years of their youth locked away with murders, rapists and child molesters? they cry. They forgot the words the other before child molesters there.

A civil case for damages ended in favour of the boy's parents and the Thompsons agreed to pay a large sum of money, thought to be $.1.5 million.


"he was worried about the Thompsons being targeted by other inmates in prison because of their religious background and the nature of the crime"

Um, don't prisoners in the US traditionally "find" religion in an attempt to weasel out of their sentences?

Hmm.. that's interesting. Your userpic doesn't show up. (I'm replying from within the comments management interface just to make sure mine does!)

Trying a reply back from inside to see what happens.

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This page contains a single entry by Feòrag published on August 16, 2009 4:57 PM.

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