Crime and Punishment

James Mirtle has an interesting post defending Billy Tibbetts, trying to get back into the NHL as part of a Bruins reality show.
Some interesting notes on Tibbetts:

From the April 1, 1994 Boston Herald:

A Brockton Superior Court judge told a Scituate man who admitted raping a teen-age girl during a 1992 outdoor drinking party that the crime was ‘brutal,’ but he then spared the man from prison.

William T. Tibbetts, now 19, pleaded guilty Wednesday to raping a 15-year-old girl during an outdoor drinking party when he was 17.

An advocate for rape victims said yesterday the judge’s decision was troubling because many women wonder if it’s worth it to seek courtroom justice.

‘It sends the message again and again that it’s very difficult to convict a rapist,’ said Tina D’Elia, a hot-line coordinator for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

The local papers were quite upset with the decision. This is from an April 2, 1994 Boston Herald editorial:

Brockton Superior Court Judge Cortland Mathers’ shortsighted decision this week to give a suspended sentence to a young man who pleaded guilty to rape sends a terrible message. William T. Tibbetts, now 19, pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. The two were with a group of teen-agers who were drinking in a Scituate woods. The victim had consumed five beers and a shot of whiskey when she accompanied Tibbetts behind a building, where she agreed to a sex act.

According to Assistant District Attorney Peter Leary, the girl, who was under 16, the age of legal consent, at one point passed out from drinking. Clearly she didn’t know what she was doing. Tibbetts obviously did.

Tibbetts’ attorney, Dennis Ryan of Quincy, characterized the rape as ‘a drinking party that got out of hand.’ The judge apparently agreed and gave Tibbetts a lecture and probation rather than a jail sentence.

If Tibbetts had beaten the girl or robbed her while she was drunk, the court wouldn’t have been so lenient. The sentence is a sad, uncalled-for endorsement of the old excuse, ‘She asked for it,’ and a green light for rapists.

Tibbetts was denied parole (this was after Tibbetts’ 1995 conviction for shooting someone with a BB gun. He also had an August 1994 conviction for intimidating a witness after threatening to kill a police officer and the officer’s family. Tibbetts was given a six-month suspended sentence for that) in 1998. This is from the September 1, 1998 Patriot Ledger:

Saying that he appears unrepentant, the state parole board has denied convicted rapist William Tibbetts’ bid to be released from prison this month.

“The inmate displayed minimal insight or remorse (except for himself) into the harm resulting from his offenses,” the board wrote in a decision issued last week. “He accepts limited responsibility and blames others for his actions.”

Read this interview with Tibbetts in the Idaho Statesman and see what you think about Tibbetts’ personal growth and sense of accountability now.