Man Arrested for Molesting Autistic Girl Faces 99 Years -- That's It?

Horrifying 67

Rafael RodriguezThere's good news out of western Texas this week. Rafael Acosta Rodriguez, the man on the run for nearly a month after allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl with autism, has finally been caught. Parents everywhere can feel a little safer, possibly for a long, long time to come. 

That's because Rodriguez could land himself in prison for as long as 99 years if he's convicted. That's essentially a life sentence.

Some will say it's too much. Ninety-nine years? It's not like he killed anyone.

But let's consider the charges here. Cops say a 12-year-old girl was raped. Her innocence was stolen. That's enough to make most of us think the perpetrator should burn in a very hot place for all eternity.

But on top of that, this girl has autism. We don't know where on the spectrum she falls, but we know she technically has a special need.

That means someone took advantage of a child with special needs.

Can we up the temperature a few hundred degrees on the aforementioned hot place?

Ah, but we can't. We can't guarantee anything after death. We can only look at what we do with pedophiles here on earth, how we punish them to give a child justice but also what that punishment means for society as a whole. 

We could give them lighter sentences -- Rodriguez could get as little as five years if convicted. But the recidivism rates of child molesters are no joke. Conventional wisdom tells us that people who have an urge to sexually molest children don't simply lose that urge because they go to prison. They're at a high risk of re-offending, and that means kids are always at risk.

Ninety-nine years might seem like a lot for someone who hasn't killed anyone. But a little girl's childhood was killed and who knows how many more could suffer.

Ninety-nine years for a pedophile sounds about right to me.

How about you?

What kind of punishment do you think fits this crime?


Image via police

child abuse, crime, autism


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femal... femaleMIKE

punishment fits the crime.   If we give him 20 years, when he comes out he may just murder his next victim.

femal... femaleMIKE

Its a fact that first time nonviolent drug dealers do more time than rapists and pedophiles.   Lets change this a little bit.

nonmember avatar Anowscara

I was on a jury that convicted a man of molesting his 13 year old neighbor. It took almost 4 years to bring to trial and he was only sentenced to 3. The jurors that stayed for the sentencing were all appalled.

Vanessa Poholek Fasanella

@femaleMIKE: We need to stop jailing our nonviolent drug convicts. We need to levy a system of tickets, fines, and penalties that do not include stuffing so many nonviolent people in jail.


But any violent criminal, such as this one, needs to do a lot of time. Possibly the rest of their time on earth.

nonmember avatar Jessica

Drug dealers get more time simply because the government can't stand when people mess with their money! They don't care for people unless its one of their own..that's the sad truth!

Joanne Viel

hang by his private parts till they are useless then give him 99 years


Venae Venae

It doesn't matter that she's special needs - you're saying she's more important than a non-special needs child. She's not. They are all innocent children.

The guy in our town who was handed the 8 year old at WalMart a few weeks ago has been in/out of jail for years - last time he chased down a 13 year old who wouldn't get in his van - they pled him down to a MISDEMEANOR and he was out for all of 3 weeks before he raped/killed this time.


nonmember avatar Rayn Craig

I can't fathom what makes a person so damn evil

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