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A case of unchecked prosecutorial abuse

By Michael M . . . Let’s talk about Bedford County, Pennsylvania’s former district attorney, William Higgins, Jr.  On August the 17th, 2018, Higgins was sentenced after being charged with using his power as a district attorney to coerce female defendants accused of drug offenses into sex acts. At least, that’s how the news media repeatedly framed it. There’s just one problem with that script. Prisoners and those accused of a crime cannot legally consent to sex with any law enforcement officer, district attorney, or other officer of the court.  So, let’s just call this what it really was – what the court and news media refuse to call it: rape.

It’s not as if the court is unfamiliar with the word or unaware of its definition. After all, courts routinely tout the legal principle that certain classes of people cannot consent to sex under any circumstances – minors under the legal age of consent, people under the influence of drugs or alcohol, people who are incapacitated while unconscious or sleeping, people who have significant mental illness, and yes, people who are in the government’s custody.

So, for raping these women, former District Attorney Higgins received the following sentence:  $9,700 in fines, eight years of probation, 1125 hours of community service, 120 days of house arrest, and mandated counseling.  That’s right… not a single day of jail or prison time, and no sex offender registry!

One might be tempted to think that perhaps he received this judicial slap on the wrist because his offense was a singularly minor infraction of the law. But, in fact, Higgins faced 31 charges which included not only the sexual assaults but obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, reckless endangerment, giving misleading testimony, and concealing or destroying evidence.

Perhaps his sentencing good fortune was the result of the fact that Higgins is just a really, really nice guy who is simply misunderstood?  After all, Steven Passarello – Higgins’ defense attorney – extolled his ostensible altruism thusly: “To his credit he decided he did not want to put his family or the county of Bedford through a media circus trial.”  And as everyone knows, nothing says “nice guy” like wanting to spare the county a media circus.

Far more likely is the probability that the district attorney’s office simply couldn’t stomach the prospect of the wall-to-wall media scrutiny that such attention would bring to their operations. They were apparently willing to do just about anything to avoid that kind of scrutiny and the inevitable calls for oversight and accountability that would surely result.  So, they made a deal.  It was one hell of a good deal for Higgins by any conceivable measure.  Higgins would pay a small fine, do some community service, and spend some time in “home confinement.”  But he would be spared the indignity and substantial risk of serving any jail time, and there would be no sex offender registration. In return, Higgins would retreat from the limelight, keep his mouth shut, and crawl back into obscurity like the cockroach that he is. It’s a win-win.

This case is the perfect example of how there are two distinctly different kinds of justice in America. There’s the kind of justice you get when you are wealthy, well-connected, and a potential embarrassment to officials because you know where all the “skeletons” are buried. And then there’s the injustice you are subject to when you aren’t wealthy, aren’t well-connected, and wield no political clout at all.  The average citizen who is charged with one – one! – misdemeanor sexual offense typically serves significant jail time and is placed on the sex offender registry.  Higgins, with 31 charges against him, received not even a taste of either.

That brings us to another major, glaring facet of this case that most have missed.  Time and again, the appellate courts have ruled that the sex offender registry is not punishment. In Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Alaska’s sex-offender registration statute, opining that the registry was administrative, not punitive, and was therefore not an ex post facto law.  But, if the sex offender registry requirement truly isn’t punishment, then why was Higgins not required to register?

The answer, obviously, is because Higgins and his attorney both knew full well that sex offender registration would be the worst possible consequence to be faced at any sentencing hearing. Therefore, the logical assumption is that they did what any reasonable defendant would do under the circumstances, if they had the same kind of dirt on the courts that Higgins had. They made sex offender registration a non-negotiable item in their bargaining discussions.

Higgins, the former Bedford County PA District Attorney, knows full well that not only is the sex offender registry a punishment, it is an unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment of the worst kind. The current Bedford DA, Lesley Childers-Potts, knows it, as does Judge Thomas Ling, who accepted Higgins’ plea agreement. Every registrant in America knows, without a doubt, that the sex offender registry – the so-called “civil death penalty” – is punishment.

Why doesn’t the U.S. Supreme Court know it?

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Michael M.

Michael M. is the published author of several non-fiction books, a writer/researcher for NARSOL, and the executive editor of The Registry Report. He also assists NARSOL in marketing, social media, and podcasting.

This topic contains 26 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  D 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #45241 Reply
    Michael M.
    Michael M.

    By Michael M . . . Let’s talk about Bedford County, Pennsylvania’s former district attorney, William Higgins, Jr.  On August the 17th, 2018, Higgins w
    [See the full post at: A case of unchecked prosecutorial abuse]

  • #45244 Reply

    Tim L

    Mike,
    You should be on the PIT BULL registry..
    Some person already started a bad prosecutor registry. Ill find link and post.

    • #45259 Reply
      Michael M.
      Michael M.

      >Tim L.: Mike, You should be on the PIT BULL registry..

      ** laughing ** One registry is enough for me, thanks! But I’ll take your comment as a compliment, nevertheless! Someone once told me that you should write when you’re angry. Just don’t forget to proof and edit after you’ve cooled off. 😛

  • #45260 Reply

    Priests are friends

    Thank you very much to all the Priests that have done a tremendous work or making PA and the U.S. the center of attention to sex ordeals. Because of such people and theirs acts, legislators across the country are on the way to more legislation and “civil punishment” for everyone except, the real dangerous criminals that have been doing what they have been doing for decades and will see no jail, registry or real justice applied to them. …and NO, being fired from your job is not the punishment I refer to! This goes all the way to the top and many more, perhaps even the Pope(s) is involved fondling/coercing/abusing kids and adults alike and/or have turned a blind eye to this forever since the founding of that institution. Plenty of evidence and books and anecdotes available thru centuries to prove it! But, now let us forgive them right?
    I am neither a praying man/woman nor a forgiving one anymore either! Eye for an Eye, I say!!! Fire with Fire, I say!!! Of course, what does it matter what I say!!!…Lmao at everything and everyone in this forsaken World! Just waiting for the man with the dark cape and Scythe to get me with its touch and to pay the ferryman for transport with no gold or silver pieces, but with a criminal record I should never have had!

    There is no hope, period! It will be the gas chambers or worst (and there is worst for sure!!!) soon!!! I will be waiting alone and ready. Lol…Lmao very loud while typing!!! “will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” there is no more genuine respect or support for it, but there is surely lots of domestic enemies aren’t there??? I wish no harm to anyone yet, many want harm to me and mine so, what is a man/woman to do then?

    https://www.abc27.com/news/local/push-for-law-change-to-follow-priest-abuse-report/1373508575

    Push for law change to follow priest abuse report

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania lawmakers are promising action on bills to change state law now that a grand jury has released a report on child sexual abuse by priests and others in six of the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses.

    Democrats and Republicans are pushing for bills to eliminate time limits on prosecution and civil lawsuits in child sexual abuse cases, but there are major differences that, in years past, have prevented those bills from becoming law.

    The statute of limitations for prosecution of child sex crimes currently expires when the victim turns 50.

    Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati has introduced Senate Bill 261 to eliminate the time limit. House Majority Leader Dave Reed praised the bill Tuesday and said, “we expect to schedule Senate Bill 261 for a vote in the fall.”

    Berks County Democratic Rep. Mark Rozzi, who was sexually abused by a priest as a boy, is against the bill because it would apply only to new criminal cases.

    “I didn’t support it last session, won’t support it this session,” Rozzi said. “It’s a very weak bill.”

    Rozzi’s proposal, House Bill 612, would provide a two-year window in which older victims could sue abusers and institutions after the time limit on civil cases expired. The law currently gives child sex abuse victims 12 years to sue once they turn 18.

    “That two-year window of opportunity must be in the legislation or I will block it from moving forward,” Rozzi said.

    House Judiciary Chair Ron Marsico has introduced bills eliminating the statute of limitations in the past, but he’s been against any retroactivity, saying such a provision “would simply give false hopes to victims because it would later be declared unconstitutional by the courts.”

    “These representatives and senators who are pretending to be Supreme Court justices need to stop and let the courts do their job,” Rozzi said.

  • #45293 Reply

    Chris

    Thought what was good for one was good for all? Thats the thinking behind sex laws and Registration laws! This guy and this case is what is wrong with America and makes it harder for guys like me to get off the registry or to get a fair trial. SMDH!

  • #45294 Reply

    Chris

    Good call on pointing out this was rape, Micheal. You are exactly right. He used his power to get sexual gratification. That is the very definition of rape.

    Cases like this are a catch-22, though.

    On the one hand, the downtrodden part of me (the part that gets angry when he considers the injustice he has had to endure at the hands of lawyers and legislators and law enforcement) wants to see this asshole suffer the way all of us suffer every day. In my mind I can see the way he forced this suffering on countless defendants with a gleam of self-righteousness in his eye, all the while committing rape on people who were out of options. It’s an injustice far greater, IMO, than the Brock Turner case. Turner will still have to register for life while this guy gets to walk around with hardly a scratch.

    But the other part of me…. the good part… knows that the registry is wrong, no matter who the convicted criminal is. It’s hard to justify saying that ANYONE should be on the registry. No matter the DA’s crimes, is it fair that his wife and children must also carry the burden of his sins? Is he less deserving of redemption just because he did a job that required him to seek the most severe punishments available? Even though he abused his power and victimized others (and lets not forget the mantra that sex offenders have many more victims than the ones we know about) does he really deserve to spend the rest of his life feeling like a monster just because some arbitrary list says he is?

    F**k him. You’re damn right he does. I’m sure he didn’t hesitate to wreak havoc on anyone else’s life. Jesus preached forgiveness, and I believe this DA would have deserved it eventually. But the Bible also says something about an eye for an eye. If he truly believed in justice, he never would have taken such an egregiously lenient judgement. I hope his wife leaves him and his kids hate him. And I hope his dog runs away, to the home of a registered citizen that will adopt it and love it forever.

    Do I sound bitter? I feel like I sound a little bitter…

    • #45602 Reply

      David Kennerly

      “He used his power to get sexual gratification. That is the very definition of rape.”

      Well, not exactly. “Rape” is sexually forcing yourself on someone who is unable to resist. It’s close to your statement but the term “power” as it is used to describe authority or perceived power imbalance is not quite the same thing as “forcing” someone and this distinction is critical and “power,” itself is now being used in a dangerously expansive way.

      The problem with using the term “rape” too promiscuously – and uncritically – is that it cheapens the word and makes it less precise and therefore “knowable.”

      For example, at one time the term “statutory rape” had a generally understood meaning. I remember when I was a kid and reading in the paper of “statutory rape” and learned what it meant. At that time, it was not used interchangeably, as it is now, with the word “rape.” No longer. Now it is impossible to understand, given only the term “rape,” whether force was used when the younger person is under the age of consent. In this way, we have traded precision in our language for blind moral outrage that occludes the facts.

    • #45677 Reply

      WC_TN

      I’ll make my point very simply:

      EITHER EVERY RAPIST REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL POSITION, SOCIAL CLASS, ETC. GETS PUT ON THE REGISTRY FOR RAPE OR NO ONE DOES!!! WHY DO THOSE WHO ENFORCE THE LAW GET TO SET THEMSELVES ABOVE THE LAW?

      This jerk IS A RAPIST by the very definition!! Yet no registry for him. What made him so danged special??

      Every one of us should be fighting mad over this. I for one am in favor of a letter-writing campaign to that D.A.’s office and to the judge regarding the double standard that was endorsed by the state and the court.

      • #46345 Reply

        D

        I am fighting mad over this. If he is actually guilty he must be punished the same as anyone else.

  • #45313 Reply

    Douglas

    Here in Memphis the DA has been busted over 30 times for withholding evidence as a prosecutor. How she kept her license and was voted in as DA I will never know or understand. I wouldn’t want to do a stomach pump either if you get my drift. She single-handedly got the sentencing for violent crimes more severe and plea deals thrown out. She also has the record of most convictions, but many were accomplished illegally. This is how she keeps her license so she just got re-elected over Judge Joe Brown last election. They look at her conviction record, but they don’;t look or ask how she got them. That is why when I was locked up they had to release almost 1,000 prisoners from state prisons all over the state. And she STILL gets to keep her job.

    • #45378 Reply

      David

      After I was arrested, the under aged girl I was having a relationship with read the police report and told my wife that most of the police report were lies and were things that never happened or words that were never said. My wife contacted the Summit County Assistant Prosecutor and the told her that most of the police report was fabricated and false. The Assistant Summit County Prosecutor immediately threatened my wife with blackmail saying “If you bring this out in court, we will put your husband in prison for life!” She blackmailed my wife to protect the policeman who filed a false police report which is a felony in the State of Ohio. Some of the so-called upholders of the law are just as corrupt or more corrupt than the criminals they arrest. Upholders of the law should be held doubly responsible when caught in a crime, because they are supposed to be the upholders of the law and the people the public trust to bring forth justice. How dare they arrest and prosecute people when they are law breakers themselves!!!

      • #46220 Reply

        Ed

        I hope no one is surprised by the DA’s tactics. The problem is that the courts virtually never exercise their supervisory authority over the federal and state executive branches. This is primarily due to the system of plea bargaining. In the federal system, for instance, criminal pleas resolve 97.1% of cases. This figure is a few years old, and is certainly higher today.

        This means that the courts will almost never see how “the sausage is made.” With this de facto prosecutorial immunity, it is no surprise that they regularly operate in the ethical grey area, and frequently in the black. A federal prosecutor must hit 97.1% just to be average. They have tremendous pressure to keep their productivity figures high. Their careers depend on it.

        In the rare cases in which a defendant is willing to risk trial, and the inevitable draconian punishment, the courts usually defer to the “separation of powers” doctrine rather than to the “balance of powers.” A black robe does not necessarily confer judicial courage. A magistrate aspires to a judgeship. Lower court judges aspire to appellate courts. Many appellate judges believe they are the best qualified for the high courts. The unfortunate judge who decided the Colorado “Millard” case may as well resign himself to staying where he is. Of course that assumes he has a lifetime appointment and is not elected.

        I was arrested and pleaded guilty in federal court for a consensual relationship with someone who had reached the age of consent. While in prison, I forced the government to admit I had not violated the law, and that conviction was vacated due to “actual innocence.” The government argued, and the Court agreed, that the law was “ambiguous,” which rendered my plea “knowing and voluntary.” Rather than having the courage to decide the issue, the 10th Circuit demurred by mooting my appeal on that issue because of the vacated conviction.

        Things like this happen all the time, and allow prosecutors to operate with no feedback except their efficiency reports. As one of my friends opined regarding the criminal justice system, “[I]t ain’t broken, it’s fixed.”

    • #45454 Reply

      Phil

      Yes, I do know this, as I had tapes withheld from my trail that would have proved me innocent. Tapes did a disappearing act. Could never find them, said was lost for three trails and appeals. 24 years later doing some research they are back. Tried to get them, he had them in his hand called me and told me this, then asked who am I. Told him he said you will not get these tapes with out a fight in Federal court, and he will fight. Then told another lawyer working for me the tapes are destroyed after 10 years. Another lawyer told me cant open the case because of statue of limitations. Whole system in Memphis is corrupt.

    • #45797 Reply

      WC_TN

      Oh yeah! I’ve heard about Amy Weirich. She’s a real witch. After she was given a pass on withholding evidence in the case of the girl she wrongfully convicted of her mother’s murder, a reporter approached her as she walked into the building where her office is and asked to talk to her. She was so hateful and said, “If you want to talk to me, make an appointment!” He told her “I’ve tried and tried and your office keeps giving me the run-around. She clammed up and walked on inside ignoring him. Even the NY Times has called her the most crooked District Attorney. I am not far from Memphis town at all. 🙂 Nice to see a local boy!!! Hat’s off to ya!!

  • #45311 Reply
    Michael M.
    Michael M.

    Chris,

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t believe anyone deserves the bullcrap that comes with being on a registry. I suppose my rhetorical technique of asking why this guy isn’t on it isn’t an actual statement of support for the registry in any form, for anyone… It’s a way of pointing out that our judicial system operates on the elitist assumption that the registry (and prisons, and executions, etc, etc) are for the “little people”… the riff-raff… the poor…. the disadvantaged. The moment the entitled classes in our country begin to suspect that THEY might be subject to the same cruel and unusual punishments as the rest of us, I think you’ll see the laws go *poof* and be overturned by the courts… and suddenly the political movers & shakers will all claim they were all against it the whole time.

    People need to be reminded – Live by the sword, die by the sword. Take a look at Asia Argento right now. What goes around comes around. Bank on it.

    • #45590 Reply

      Maestro

      I always knew that Asia was a bit of a weirdo when she riddled herself with tattooes. But I never would have guessed she was the leftist type that would have anything to do with #metoo.
      I’ve been a fan of her father’s films for decades. Got to meet him at a convention. A true gentleman.
      I wonder if Asia will be required to register. I believe she has duel citizenship here and in Italy and might try to pull a Polanski. I’d love to know what Dario and Daria (her parents) must be thinking.

    • #46001 Reply

      Glen

      Well said Chris. Great article too, by the way. Two kinds of Justice in America: one for the rich, powerful, and influential; and then the one for the rest of us.

    • #46240 Reply

      Ed

      “Time wounds all heels.” (hopefully)

  • #45343 Reply

    Chris

    Micheal,

    Yeah, I agree. I’ve had a busy and tiresome last few days and I suppose your article kinda set me off, and the more I typed the less philosophical I waxed. I don’t believe he deserves to be on the registry any more than I, or you, or anyone else does. But I would be lying if I claimed that I didn’t wish he would get at least a taste of his own medicine.

    And you’re right about the political and social elite. If the laws were truly applied evenly, a great many past and current “leaders” would have sexual offense convictions, not the least of which is Bill Clinton. His offenses are well documented but excused by many (even including feminist war machines like Gloria Steinem.) IMO, even a consensual freak show like his cigar tricks with “that woman, Ms. Lewinsky” were an abuse of power and thus borderline rape. I mean, how do you say, “No” to the leader of the free world?

    But instead of griping about it, we must do what we can to raise awareness and try to hold people accountable. And that’s what you and Brenda, and Robin, and the rest of the folks at NARSOL are doing. Many thanks, my brother, many thanks. Keep up the good work.

    • #46002 Reply

      Glen

      I once read an oppinion piece that stated something to the affect of, “When people of power, and/or their sons and daughters start ending up on the registry, things will begin changing”…

  • #45344 Reply

    Saddles

    Do you ever get the feeling that some of this sex romp or internet abuse or this physical sexual abuse is like some “Up in smoke” cheech and chong movie being played out for real. Sometimes I wonder who’s stoned today? Is it Maestro, myself, those that are caught up with this registry business, or everyday people. Now a new twist prosecutor abuse or cover-up however one wants to call it. I wonder what fake news is today when it comes out of one’s mouth or a Presidents mouth.

    I wonder if we all are still judging others because they drink beer or don’t know how to sip tea right. Courtesy is Courtesy or is belching out of line today.

    Now Truth isn’t Truth from what one lawyer was saying. Believe that was said by Trumps attorney. Sort of like me saying it is what it is until it is what it ain’t to my probation officer. Talk about the city of brother-le-love or a nation of brother-le-love. Talk about labeling. Talk about born into trouble. Now I never wanted to be labeled a chior boy as I think labeling is a scoruge and discriminating or should one go back to watching roots the N-word slander, which is disgrsaceful in itself, or should we call a gay a gay, even a mexican a rapists. I think progranda has to many avenue’s when live is at times a struggle enough.
    I don’t even think anyone today would want to be in government. Or should we go labeling everybody that gets into trouble and take away their rights to even be people or is government better a bit above autority. It all comes down to moral values and not some tricky dicky hi-jinks that government pulls. I wonder if the civil war was a choice or a decision. Even good battleplans have to have good decision that one should make, and yes there is a dfference between choice and decision.

    Sure I’m appauld just like everybody else on here. See government does everything to protect their own, their way. Guess they been listening to Frank Sanatra to long or the rat pack. If one doesn’t agree with Trump they are on the streets the next day.. I wonder who’s using the sword in vain today?

  • #45345 Reply

    Miracle

    Asia Argento, Who Accused Harvey Weinstein of Rape, Allegedly Paid Off Male Accuser: Report

    https://people.com/movies/asia-argento-sexual-assault-settlement-report/

    August 19, 2018 10:41 PM

    Asia Argento, a #MeToo activist and one of Harvey Weinstein‘s most high-profile accusers, agreed to pay $380,000 to her own accuser, according to a bombshell report by The New York Times.

    Citing documents sent to the newspaper anonymously and verified with three people familiar with the case, the report says that in the months after her allegations against Weinstein last October, the 42-year-old Italian actress reached a financial settlement with Jimmy Bennett, who once played Argento’s son in 2004’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. (Argento also directed and co-wrote the film.)

    The actor and musician, now 22, claimed that in 2013, then-37-year-old Argento sexually assaulted Bennett in a California hotel room two months after he turned 17, the report says. (In California, 18 is the age of consent.)

    Bennett claimed in the documents that Argento kissed him before performing oral sex on him and engaging in intercourse at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California, according to the Times.

    • #45568 Reply

      Hiding behind the dead guy

      Asia wants to hide behind her dead boyfriend now, the famous chef who traveled the world known as Anthony, and say he did the settlement, not her, while Rose McGowan says people need to be gentle with Asia in her state today. Here’s a bus – GO!

  • #45365 Reply

    a man without a country

    Hello all,

    As I have written in the Tales from the Registry blog, we need to make more noise about the false causes and effects being foisted upon the unknowing/uninformed in this hysteria. There ARE worse kinds of abuse than being groped after twerking someone. My “victim’s” mother made Joan Crawford look like an angel. My late father was a malignant narcissist, and today, over five years after his death, I am dealing with the devastation of HIS psychological and financial abuse of me. I suspect my “victim” rarely thinks of me almost twenty years after. If she does have long-lasting psychological issues, they probably stem from her mother telling her every night: “Get your pills and go to bed!” starting at 5:00 PM. (A Ritalin and FIVE Benadryls.) Further complicating matters are the likely stirring things up by the authorities looking to put another notch in their belts twenty years ago and a pseudo–counselor who was looking for another way to charge the state for a couple years of counseling with a new client who could only afford “help” if paid for by the state.

  • #45417 Reply

    Saddles

    Whatsitaboutism must be a new word in the dictionary today. I wonder about these sex offender ordeals today. Would one say its about sex with a supposed teenage girl via an internet computer hook up. (Just the facts ma’am as sargent friday would say).

    Is all this prosecutorial witch hunt, DOJ witch hunt, or facts based witch hunt. Now facts are facts but I wonder who’s hiding the real truth or cover-up. Even the preamble of the Constitution is so white washed today. Its basically man controling man today when someone gets wrapped up in all this type of ordeal
    Sure evil comes in every color and even from those who supose to protect and serve. Even a duputy in Texas killed himself in jail over a physical encounter with a child, so really nobody’s prone to evil. I wonder if we repay evil for evil today or in these registry cases who is doing the evil with the actual internet enticement or the actual physical ordeal. Or should we all say Liar, Liar, pants on fire. I guess we are always disappointed when a liars pants don’t catch fire. I wonder if Christian principals are down the drain. I’m sure one also wonders who was directing the commission of a crime in a lot of this sexual enticement.

    Sure its a crime in talking to an underaged girl. It is not a crime to go into an adult chatroom. I wonder if two wrongs make a right anymore.

  • #45687 Reply

    WC_TN

    I sent the following eMail to the Bedford County D.A.:

    I am writing to respectfully express my disappointment and outrage over the way the case involving former Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins, Jr. was mishandled. Even the court was complicit in this travesty of justice. It seems that those who enforce the law and/or prosecute offenders are somehow able to set themselves above the very laws they swore to uphold. This should never be accepted. This case also screams WOMEN ACCUSED OF CRIMES AREN’T WORTH THE SAME LEVEL OF PROTECTION FROM SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AS THE ORDINARY CITIZEN.

    Even the media was a part of this travesty. “He was accused of using his powers as District Attorney to ‘help’ female drug dealers in exchange for sexual favors” as WTAJ puts it. Even the media did not call his crimes against these women rape. How can anyone with a scintilla of honesty not call this rape?

    This man used his position of immense authority to coerce female defendants into sexual activity. It is a well-known legal principle that criminal defendants, prisoners, and the like cannot give consent to sexual activity with a D.A. or jail/prison officials. Any sexual activity of this kind is RAPE. This is the very definition of RAPE. RAPE is a violent sexual crime that demands registration (and in many states life-long post-confinement supervision and 24/7 G.P.S. tracking). How can a rape be any more coercive than the one raping you having the power of the criminal prosecution process to wield as a weapon? I can’t think of a more forcible compulsion that the D.A. using his immense prosecutorial prerogatives as a weapon to force compliance from females awaiting criminal prosecution.

    This is Pennsylvania’s definition of RAPE:

    A person commits a felony of the first degree when the person engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant:

    1. By forcible compulsion.
    2. By threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution.
    3. Who is unconscious or where the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring.
    4. Where the person has substantially impaired the complainant’s power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance.
    5. Who suffers from a mental disability which renders the complainant incapable of consent.

    Not only did he commit the crime of rape repeatedly, but he also committed the following: obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, reckless endangerment, giving misleading testimony, and concealing or destroying evidence. In all Mr. Higgins faced no less than 31 charges. These are the actions of an extremely dangerous predatory sexual offender and your office and the Court gave this man a free pass. Community service, 6 months’ house arrest and mandated counseling are a joke! This man should be serving decades in prison and life on the S.O.R. There’s no plausible explanation other than this being a case of the “good ol’ boy” system. How is this MONSTER any different from the other rapists your office has aggressively prosecuted and sent to prison over the years? Why is he so special that he doesn’t even have to register?

    It is appalling that Mr. Higgins was allowed to plead out to non-sexual offenses and avoid being labeled a rapist and registered as a violent/predatory sex offender. This is undeniably what would have been done with any private citizen. It’s sickening that this sort of double standard exists. Preserving the dignity and integrity of the District Attorney’s office is no excuse to give a rapist a free pass that’s not available to any others convicted of that same sort of offense. In my opinion, either every rapist goes to prison for a long time and has to register or none at all. Official title, financial status, socio-political connections all should be irrelevant.

    The actions of the D.A.’s office and Judge Thomas Ling show by their actions they KNOW the registry is a civil death penalty and a wholly punitive measure.

    Respectfully,
    Will Crump

    • #45798 Reply

      WC_TN

      I was NOT advocating for the registry, but pointing out that since it is law, it should be applied impartially without thought of what government office the offender holds, who he or she knows, or how much money he or she has. I take it as a slap to the face when exceptions are made for the good ol’ boys but everyone else gets hammered. I see the registry as black and white: If it’s too evil and harsh for the state to put “one of their own on it”, then it should be too evil and harsh to put anyone on it.

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