There have been several cases recently of men convicted of sexual assault getting lenient sentences. But this might be the first case involving a baby.
Kraigen Grooms, now 19, pleaded guilty to one charge of engaging in a lascivious act with a child, a 1-year-old baby girl, when he was 17. He was sentenced for that offense on Monday, and he won’t be serving any prison time if he honors the terms of his probation.
KTVO reports that Grooms, also known as Kraigen Simmers, received a 10-year suspended sentence and five years of supervised release from an Iowa judge. That means if Grooms does not violate the terms of his probation or break the law during that period, he will not be incarcerated.
Federal agents said Grooms had posted pictures to an underground child pornography website of himself having sex with a baby girl, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There was also allegedly video of the crime.
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Grooms will have to register as a sex offender for life. He was released from custody after he pleaded guilty to the crime, and served time in juvenile detention and county jail between his arrest in March 2014 and his admission in July.
He originally faced up to 25 years in prison for felony sex abuse charges.
A prosecutor in the case said the teen was duped into the act by child pornographers posing online as a teenage girl, the Associated Press reported. Wapellow County Attorney Gary Oldenburger says Grooms’ sentence was part of a plea agreement based on a bevy of factors, including that the victim’s parents asked that he not be sent to prison. Oldenburger says the toddler was not raped or physically harmed. He also says Grooms did not know the abuse was being recorded by pornographers.
Someone started a White House petition calling for the judge’s removal from the bench over his sentencing decision. It had less than 700 signatures out of a 100,000 goal Thursday morning.