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DA admits mistake after Investigative Unit report

4 years 8 months 4 weeks ago Friday, September 19 2014 Sep 19, 2014 September 19, 2014 6:04 PM September 19, 2014 in The Investigative Unit
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

ST. FRANCISVILLE- District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla lifted his silence Friday over a juvenile rape case his office prosecuted. Tonight, he admits his office may have made a mistake.

It all centers around court paperwork that identifies one victim as 12 years old. However, the conviction paperwork indicates she was 13 years old. Having sex with a 12-year-old carries a sentence of up to life in prison.

"On our office's part, it might have been a mistake," D'Aquilla said.

That deal allowed Brown to receive a three-year sentence for having sex with those four minors. It's something that concerns advocates for victims of sex abuse.

"I think this is the best deal in my experience that I have seen," Morgan Lamandre, Attorney for Sexual Abuse Trauma Awareness (STAR).

Documents from the investigation showed the 12-year-old told detectives, "it hurted, so I told him to stop."

D'Aquilla recognized that sex with a 12-year old would have been a much more serious charge. He claims the parents of the victim did not want their daughter to participate.

The political race for D'Aquilla's position is heating up. D'Aquilla is one of the only district attorneys in our area who faces opposition. His opponent, David Opperman, said what happened in this case was inexcusable.

"That is so phenomenally irresponsible and negligent to me, it borders on criminal negligence to overlook something like that," Opperman said.

Opperman, a former prosecutor, says it appears the deal that was reached in this case was no accident.

"You don't make mistakes like that," Opperman said. "how can you not know that at the time of the offense, the child was 12?"

Brown cannot be charged twice for the same crime, and so he cannot be sentenced for the harsher crime.

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