Sister Given No Prison Time for Sexually Molesting Her Disabled Brother

This is an incredibly sad story. A woman was arrested for sexually abusing her minor and mentally disabled brother, with whom she had a baby. While this would normally be cause for unmitigated outrage, there are those that feel sorry for the woman -- including the judge who tried her case. The 25-year-old woman from Portland, Oregon, was given no prison time. The reason? She herself was sexually abused as a child.


Although being sexually abused is no "excuse" for sexually abusing someone else, the reality is that some people who are sexually abused do grow up to act out their traumas with others. It's a way of regaining control and power over a situation they were helpless to stop.

The woman, whose name is not being released, was raped by her mother's boyfriend from the time she was 8 until she was 11. The boyfriend admitted to some of the abuse and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The woman lived with her developmentally disabled brother, who has an IQ of 54 and who was under 18 at the time of the sexual offenses. The two had sex at least 10 times, and the woman became pregnant with her brother's baby.

As part of a plea deal, she will be a registered sex offender but serve no prison time.

The sentence is getting mixed reviews. While many are compassionate toward the woman and her extremely difficult life circumstances, ones that most likely contributed to her actions, others feel that the sentence is sexist and something a man would have never gotten away with.

Whichever way you feel, the reality is that sex abuse is not always a black and white subject. We like to think of the sex offender as an evil monster -- someone who is fully in control of his or her actions and simply made a choice to ruin the lives of others.

Sometimes, it's not that simple.

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It's not clear who is raising the child, but it doesn't sound like it is the woman or her brother. Hopefully, the child can grow up to overcome his or her traumatic birth circumstances.

Should she have gone to prison?

Image via Brad Hammonds/Flickr

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