Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Slap on the Wrist for Young Bennett

Clifton Bennett, son of Arizona Senate President, Ken Bennett will serve no jail time for sodomizing 18 boys at a summer camp with flashlights and broomsticks if Yavapai County prosecutors have their way. Today's Arizona Republic informs us:

The son of Arizona's Senate president confessed that he and another counselor shoved broomsticks and flashlights into the rectums of 18 boys in at least 40 incidents at a youth camp in June.

Now Yavapai County prosecutors say they will drop all but one assault charge and likely recommend little or no jail time if 18-year-old Clifton Bennett agrees to plead guilty.

But what did you expect? Did you really think that the son of a prominent Republican politican would go to jail in Arizona? Dream on.

Nope, young Bennett will instead be going on a mission for his church.

... in a letter to the Yavapai County attorney, Bennett's lawyers said he immediately "took responsibility for his role, showed remorse and admitted that this 'hazing' was inappropriate."

They described Bennett as an honor student and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, planning to go on a mission in September. "A felony conviction for assault will make his desire to complete his mission impossible," they wrote.

Under the plea agreements Bennett and Wheeler could face a maximum two years in prison. But the court could reduce the charges to a misdemeanor and no jail time.

Needless to say, the parents of the victims will not be pleased with this outcome.
The pleas, which describe the assault charge as "a non-dangerous, non-repetitive offense," have outraged parents who say their sons were victims of violent sexual attacks. The boys, who were 11 to 14 years old at the time, have had trouble going to the bathroom, sleep with clothes on, are afraid at night, and have undergone sexual-assault counseling.

The parents want Bennett and Wheeler to face sexual-assault charges, undergo psychosexual evaluations and spend several days in jail per victim.

"Our biggest concern is that these kids are going to do it again," said the mother of an 11-year-old Tucson boy. "My son had something shoved up his butt seven or eight times. If that's not sexual assault, what is?"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will Arizonans wake up and see the Mormons for what they really are: members of a self-righteous, unethical cult.

If anyone really thought that Ken Bennett's son was going to get into trouble for 18 counts of sodomy and kidnapping, they haven't lived in Arizona or Utah for very long.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Zelph said...

Far be it for me to defend Mormonism , but I don't think it's right to demonize all Mormons. Frankly, I have a problem with any religious group that thinks they are entitled to special treatment.

Mormons have a lot of political power in Arizona and I don't think that it is bigoted to recognize this fact. There have been a number of cases where Mormon politicians have attempted to use their influence to protect their own from the legal consequences of their behavior (see the story about Jake Flake on this very blog). I guess breaking the law can be forgiven when you're "special".

Some politicians seem to believe in harsh and swift justice for those who do not believe as they do and mercy and forgiveness for their own.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical ... if they were atheists, they would be put away for 40 years.


10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical ... if they were atheists, they would be put away for 40 years.


10:42 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

Unbelievable. I'm completely sickened by everything about this case from the violent acts against children to the pathetic excuse for a plea bargain. Let's hope the victims get some counseling. The parents of the offenders should be getting some serious help for their sicko kids, the state senator ought to resign, as should the Yavapai county prosecutor. What world does he live in that sticking a broom up a CHILD's behind is not sexual? Are you stupid? Let's put one in your behind as punishment for being an idiot and see if it doesn't feel like a sexual rape to you.

Let's think of it like this. If I called the Yavapai County prosecutor and tell him that I'm going to stick a broom handle up his rear, and I do it -- I would be arrested for premeditated *exual a**ault. It is not any different than what these 2 individuals did. Except -- my dad isn't the State Senate president

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't feel that it's fair to blame this on one's religion. Unfortunately, the lawyers are playing the religion card hoping that the idea of 'repentance' and 'forgiveness' will work in the court of law. It may work for God but even he doesn't offer forgiveness until the price is paide for the sin. In this case, both young men need to pay for what they did. They are not special, nor are they different than any other person be they Catholic, Methodist, Muslim or son of a Republican, Democrat or President. Don't blame the religion for the heinous acts that the individual decided on their own to make. As a society we need to blame the individual for the wrong doing and not their religion, race, or nationality.

11:59 AM  
Blogger nymanzanita said...

True... this story is very SICK and what these young men did is very WRONG. But... why is it that everyone has to mention and focus on what church they belong to? It seems that people always make a big deal when a person who belongs to the LDS church commits some type of crime. Why dont people make a big deal when the person is a baptist, catholic, or lutheran?? Do you know what church Scott Peterson went to? Think of all of the people who are on the news at night who have done horrible things..... do you make a point to say.... "but they are catholic." What about your own religious beliefs? Are you perfect? I bet not. Let's focus on what they did and not their personal religious beliefs.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Zelph said...

I'm not blaming what Clifton Bennett did on the Mormon religion. I am blaming the fact that he was protected from the consequences of his actions on the fact that his father is a prominent Mormon politician. Like it or not, the Mormon power structure in this state has a lot of political influence and protects their own. Do you think Clifton Bennett should go on a mission after what he has done? I don't.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything about this case disgusts me. To say this isn't a sexual assault is crazy. To make any type of deal with them is sickening. As for the religious factor. No, I don't blame the religion. But I can't help but wonder how they can put such an emphasis on this brat's "mission". Obviously he hasn't been learning much in church. Certainly not about compassion. I can't believe these boy's laywers' would actually have the nerve to bring up the fact that they're active members of any religion.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is amazing. You say these boys were "sodomized," and that they had broomsticks shoved up their butts, but nowhere do you mention that they were fully clothed. This was admittedly a stupid thing to do, but it's hardly the horrible assault you make it out to be.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because he says he wants to serve an LDS church mission does not mean that he will found be worthy or meet the strict criteria placed upon young men who desire to serve missions.
The church has recently raised the bar on the quality of missionaries who may serve missions and in my opinion Clifton Bennett falls several broomsticks short.
I doubt this is the first or will be the last of his deviant behaviors.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Straight Shot says,
How do you shove anything up anyones butt if they are fully clothed???
Not possible.
This was rape and violence of the worst kind. Put the fathers of both the boys in prison!!
Horrifying and shame on the Church.

10:20 PM  
Blogger CLB said...

Zelph, I tracked you down by a little reverse stat maneuvering. Don't know who added me (Action Point) to the Arizona blogroll but I appreciate it. Could I be bold enough to suggest you add the other blog I run (Cranky Little Blog) to the roll as well? Cranky is my alter ego (my inner Ann Colter--although I will never be able to raise myself to her--uh--"standards") and sometimes Cranky is worth the read...

10:59 PM  
Blogger tas said...

That's what personal injury lawyers are for. What facility can actually claim they knew nothing about this abuse? None. and I would seek punitive damages against these punks and also seek to hold the parents liable for failure to supervise their children if they were under 18. I would bet mom and dad knew these little pricks were doing this "hazing."

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, the LDS church lied to our family, my daughter is dead and the little girls are with the abusive father[priesthood holder]...they are a cult , the leaders do not keep their words and all that really matters is if the priesthood leaders stay out of trouble.. ANYONE reading this should study on their own. I left after 34 years of being fooled, thank GOD HE led me to the realFather in Heaven theirs is all for the boys and thats it. Women are chattels and children are sacrifices. THAT is the words of the area leaders...JUST keep the priesthood looking good but sacrifice anything or anyone else....You bet I am mad.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The victims were fully clothed, and there was nothing actually inserted into their rectums. An ignorant hazing yes, a sexual assault, no. I hate liars.

9:54 AM  
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2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"The victims were fully clothed, and there was nothing actually inserted into their rectums. An ignorant hazing yes, a sexual assault, no. I hate liars."

REALLY? So if a man holds a woman down and presses a broomstick up against her crotch (let's leave her underwear on) it's not a sexual assault? If that man did it to a girl's rectum do you think her father would think it all fun and games? Why on earth would it be okay to do this kind of thing to a boy? I hate sexist hypocrites who condone child sexual abuse.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So do catholic priests.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

POS wants the governors office.

10:21 PM  

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