What do you call a guy who stalks a woman, hits her repeatedly in the face, forces her to the ground, and rapes her?
In Galveston County, you call him "probationer." You don't call him "prisoner." That's according to an astonishing press release we received yesterday regarding the outcome of the sexual assault case against 27-year-old Jonathan Massey, who received 8 years probation for a 2013 rape. At least Massey will have to register as a sex offender.
The Galveston County District Attorney's press release lays out the details of the brutal crime, and the evidence against Massey, making the verdict all the more surprising. The victim testified that she met Massey at a restaurant on the seawall, and later went to an apartment belonging to Massey's friend.
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While at the apartment, the victim testified that she became very uncomfortable and left on foot. A short time after leaving Massey caught up to her in his vehicle and told her he would take her back to Galveston to her friend. Evidence showed that Massey did not take her back to the seawall but instead took her to a dark, secluded area near the 51st street viaduct bridge.
The victim testified that once there, Massey hit her in the face repeatedly. She explained that she felt she would not survive if she did not do what he wanted her to do. Massey ordered her to pull down her pants and get on the ground. Once on the ground, Massey sexually assaulted her. Once the assault was over, Massey left the victim there. The victim ran to a gas station located at the corner of 51st Street and Broadway, where she asked the clerk to call the police.
Prosecutors presented video from the gas station's security cameras "showing a vehicle matching Massey's coming from the area of the sexual assault...and then the showing the victim running up to the store." A DNA analyst with the Texas Department of Public Safety also testified "that DNA taken from under the victim's fingernails was a match to Massey's DNA."
The jury found Massey not guilty "on one count of aggravated sexual assault and guilty on a lesser charge of sexual assault," according to the release. It also explained that Massey faced between 2-20 years in prison, but "because Massey had no prior felony convictions, the jury could sentence him to up to 10 years of community supervision, in lieu of prison."
Sounds like police and prosecutors did their job here, spoon-feeding powerful evidence and testimony to the jury. We're guessing that they, like the victim, were expecting that the punishment would fit the crime.