Things That Matter

Former Kentucky Governor Pardoned A Rapist Because His 9-Year-Old Victim’s Hymen Was Still Intact

Former Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, a devoted conservative who upholds proudly, his “pro-life” credentials, sparked lots of criticism for choosing to pardon hundreds of violent criminals during his last week in office. Lat week, during a radio interview with WHAS in Louisville he said that he pardoned a child rapist partly because the hymen of the 9-year-old victim was still intact.

Former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued hundreds of pardons just a few days ago.

In his final days in office, former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin issued hundreds of pardons and commutations to people he said he would not hesitate to welcome as neighbors, co-workers or members of his church. The pardons drew shock and outrage, not only because of the sheer number or apparent political motivations, but also because some involved violent criminals, including convicted murderers and rapists.

Bevin issued 428 pardons and commutations of sentences during his last days in office.

 Among those he pardoned was 41-year-old Micah Schoettle. On Sept. 14, 2016, a middle school student reported that she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by Schoettle beginning when she was 9 years old, according to a news releaseissued by the commonwealth attorney’s office at the time of the verdict. Following an investigation, he was arrested, and on May 29, 2018, Schoettle was convicted of rape, sexual abuse, sodomy, and other sexual offenses. The judge followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Schoettle to 23 years in prison.

Bevin, enraged critics when he said during a radio interview that he pardoned a child rapist partly because the hymen of the 9-year-old victim was still intact.

When Louisville WHAS radio host Terry Meiners asked Bevin about the pardon, the former governor focused on the lack of evidence from physical examinations of the victim and her sister. “Both their hymens were intact,” Bevin said. “This is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me, if you had been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically.”

In Thursday’s radio interview, host Terry Meiners grilled Bevin about his decision to pardon Schoettle.

“You’re the father of nine,” Meiners asked. Meiners then asked the former governor why he would pardon a convicted child rapist. “Which one though, because there were a couple of people that were accused of that whose sentences I commuted,” he said. When Meiners clarified that he was referring to Schoettle, Bevin said: ”This man was convicted purely on something that there’s no corroboration for,” Bevin said. “You should not be sent to jail based simply on the word and uncorroborated word of a single individual, especially when it is possible to verify that medically and physically.”

Expert studies show that Bevin’s claim is, in fact, incorrect.

His claim was made despite expert studies showing most child victims do not show evidence of physical damage and that examination of the tissue is not a reliable test of sexual activity. In fact, a 2012 study by the peer-reviewed journal Forensic Science International found that 90% of child victims don’t suffer physical damage from sexual abuse.

Retired Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner George Nichols told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Bevin “not only doesn’t know the law, in my humble opinion, he doesn’t know medicine and anatomy.”

“Rape is not proved by hymen penetration,” said Nichols, who started the child abuse evaluation system at Norton Children’s Hospital, formerly Kosair Children’s Hospital, in Louisville. “Rape is proved by phallic penetration…where the vaginal lips meet the outer surface of the vagina.” Nichols also told the Courier-Journal that he had worked for six consecutive governors as chief medical examiner, “and fortunately didn’t have to report to that asshole.”

“Essentially what he’s saying to pedophiles and people who would sexually abuse children is, ‘If you don’t cause an injury, you won’t be prosecuted because the only person that can tell what happened is the child,” Dr. James Crawford-Jakubiak, medical director of the Center for Child Protection at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, said of Bevin.

The FBI is now looking into the pardons issued by former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

The Louisville Courier Journal, citing two sources familiar with the matter, reported late Monday that an FBI agent had spoken with a Kentucky state representative, Rep. Chris Harris, about a criminal investigation into Bevin’s pardons. Bevin has received national criticism for pardoning or commuting the sentences of more than 650 people following his failed reelection bid in November.

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