The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eight years vs possible 25?

To make it clear, I don't condone any abuse of animals. I understand the seriousness of abusive crimes against animals. I do. Yet, it's hard for me to grasp just how we can justify sending two teenagers to jail for 25 years for torturing a cat, yet we're suppose to be okay with the fact that molesting a child is only worth 8 years.

I'm not saying that what was done to the cat isn't horrific, I'm just saying that I believe what was done to a 7 year old girl was worse- in that one is an animal, one is a child.

Two teenagers could spend 25 years in prison for allegedly torturing and killing a cat they set on fire when they broke into an apartment in New York City.

Angelo Monderoy, 18, and Matthew Cooper, 17, allegedly broke into a vacant apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y., on or around Oct. 7, 2008. Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes said the pair held the cat down as they poured charcoal lighter fluid on it.

Hynes said they then set the animal on fire, causing deep wounds and fourth-degree burns. The blaze also damaged the building, which has other units that are occupied.

Yes, horrific. But it's an animal.

Pantoja allegedly made a seven-year-old female neighbor touch his penis and put it in her mouth several times, and also made her watch pornographic movies at his apartment. If she told anyone, he allegedly told her, she wouldn’t be allowed to play with his daughter, who was five years old at the time. source

This child will have to live with this the rest of her life, her father- who learned of the abuse when he caught Socorro Pantoja abusing her at the apartment pool- will have to live with the image of his child being sexually abused for the rest of his life. The entire family of this child will struggle with what had happened, and with any effect that abuse has. Even the family of the abuser will face their own emotional issues dealing with this.

But, it's only worth 8 years of prison. Two entire families devastated. The effects are long lasting:

Ochoa allowed for the girl to sit with her back to Pantoja while she gave her statement so she didn’t have to look at him. “I was sad because I was going to sit over there and he was going to be looking at me,” she said. “He should stay in jail for a long time. If he gets out he’s going to do more things to more little girls.”

The victim’s father gave a passionate plea through an interpreter, asking Ochoa to drop the weight of the law upon Pantoja. “It was very hard to stand the desire to take justice into my own hands against this man,” the father said.

Said prosecutor Joyce Dudley after the sentence was handed down: “The upper term of eight years was appropriate given the devastation this crime had on the child and her family.”

I'm sorry, I just find it hard to see how an criminal act on an animal justifies more of a sentence than an act against a child. Especially given that it's unlikely these boys will torture another cat, but we all know the prospect of Pantonja molesting another child.