In the conclusion of a four-part series, the Kansas City Star tells how prosecutor Lori Fluegel won a conviction in a difficult child sex abuse case. “The people you told,” she tells the victim, Jessica, “found him guilty.” On the day of sentencing last week, Fluegel told the judge that “the only appropriate sentence is 25 years.”
The Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission's recommendation for a case like this: 10 years as a general sentence, 15 if there were “aggravating” factors. Fluegel thinks that's woefully light. The sentence for statutory rape in Missouri involving kids 12 and under is 10 years to life. “Aggravating factors” include the use of a deadly weapon, a prior felony record, the risk of death or proof that the offender caused “severe physical or emotional trauma to the victim” or committed the crime in an “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel manner.” Defendant David Brake got 13 years.