BOSTON (AP) — The top district court judge in Massachusetts has denied a request to review a sexual assault case in which a former high school sports star received a sentence that some think was too lenient.
David Becker, 18, a former soccer, basketball and volleyball player at East Longmeadow High School, was sentenced to two years’ probation this month after pleading guilty to indecent assault and battery on two former classmates during an alcohol-fueled party in April. Both victims were 18.
Prosecutors requested a two-year jail sentence.
If he meets all conditions of probation, charges will be dismissed and he won’t have to register as a sex offender.
The sentence drew a national outcry and calls for the judge to be fired. It drew comparisons to the case of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, who got six months in jail for a sexual assault conviction, a sentence also decried as too short.
All proper legal procedures were followed in the Becker case, Paul Dawley, Massachusetts chief justice of the district court, wrote in response to the review request, according to The Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/2bySo1d ).
The sentencing judge, Thomas Estes, “exercised his sentencing discretion in accordance with the governing law” and “imposed a sentence that was within the lawful bounds established by the Legislature, within the range set forth in the relevant statute, and in accordance with our appellate case law and victim’s rights statute,” Dawley wrote in a letter dated Friday.
The review was requested by Michael Albano, a member of the Governor’s Council and former Springfield mayor who is running for sheriff of Hampden County, where East Longmeadow is located. The Governor’s Council reviews the governor’s judicial appointments.
He said that he wanted the case to be independently reviewed to ensure it was handled properly and that he is researching whether it can be reviewed through another channel.
Estes is barred from publicly commenting on pending cases.
Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com