A woman in Longmont, Colorado, was sentenced to eight years of probation — no jail time — for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl multiple times.
Chelsea Vigorita, 29, was able to plead guilty to “attempted sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and third-degree assault,” according to local news outlet the Times-Call.
“On Friday, Boulder District Judge Norma Sierra sentenced Vigorita to eight years of sex offender intensive supervised probation. Vigorita will have to register as a sex offender and complete sex offense specific treatment, but she will be able to apply to have her probation terminated after five years if she completes the treatment,” the outlet reported.
Had Vigorita been a man, such a light sentence most likely wouldn’t have been enacted even with a guilty plea. Further, the reporting outlet never would have described the interaction between Vigorita and the teen girl as “having sex.” Rather, it would have been described as sexual assault or rape.
Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty, however, insisted Vigorita’s punishment holds her “accountable” for her crime.
“It is because of the victim’s courage and the great work by law enforcement that this defendant received a felony conviction and is being held accountable for her role in this case,” Dougherty said in a statement, according to the Call.
Boulder Deputy District Attorney Michael Petrash, who prosecuted the case, said the victim “was on board with the plea.” He also said that “Law enforcement did a terrific job investigating the case, which allowed us to secure this result without going to trial.”
Petrash had asked for some jail time for Vigorita, but Judge Sierra decided against it because of so-called collateral effects and “who [Vigorita] is as an individual.”
Those “collateral effects,” according to Vigorita’s defense attorney April Coleman, were the loss of her housing and some friends. Coleman also alleged that Vigorita was sexually assaulted after her arrest by someone who apparently mentioned the case.
Again, such considerations wouldn’t be made for a man who lost his home and friends after sexually assaulting a minor.
Robert Rexroad, who pleaded guilty “pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a child” as part of the case, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 16.
I’ve written about this phenomenon before, where women who sexually abuse children get more lenient punishment than men who commit the same crime:
A 32-year-old man was found guilty of sexually abusing a young girl for years, starting when she was just 6 years old. That man faced 366 years to life in prison. Meanwhile, a 25-year-old woman pleaded guilty to attempted rape of young boys at a trailer park in California. The female abuser in that case had previously been indicted on several other charges, including first-degree rape. She had pleaded guilty to the lesser charges as part of a plea agreement, and received five years’ probation.
In numerous other examples, we see the same: Female child abusers rarely, if ever, get jail time for their crimes, while male child abusers get hundreds of years. Abusing a child should never be treated lightly, no matter the sex of the perpetrator.
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