A defense attorney in Montana suggested sexual assault victims could be "temptresses" during a sentencing hearing Monday for a man who raped a 13-year-old girl.
"She looks and acts like she's 18 years old," attorney Lisa Kauffman (pictured below) said in court, according to the Missoulian. “You should see the pictures of her and the hair and the makeup.”
Justin Griffith, 26, met the victim at a teenage addiction recovery center in Missoula. He was an employee. The girl was a patient. In 2015, Griffith pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault. A second girl at the facility also alleged that Griffith had raped her. However, as part of the Griffith’s plea deal, those charges were dropped.
“I just find this whole conversation offensive,” Deputy County Attorney Brian Lowney said on Monday, interrupting Kauffman’s statements.
Kauffman complained about societal backlash to her attitudes, stating that she is “not allowed to talk like that anymore,” about underage victims of sexual assault -- at least, not without having “every women’s group in the country” coming after her.
Kauffman also argued that Griffith wasn’t trained on how to handle a treatment center atmosphere -- a place that's full of teen girls who “acted out sexually,” according to Kauffman.
“It is hardly a training issue not to have sex with a 13-year-old resident,” Lowney said.
RawStory reports that during a court recess, Kauffman asked Lowney, “How about victims as temptresses, what do you think about that?”
The victim’s mother told Kauffman not to speak about her child that way. She was seated behind the attorneys.
“I was just making a little slam,” Kauffman reportedly replied.
“... I see some kind of incarceration here. He’s not going to walk out of here with a probationary sentence.” Missoula County District Court Judge Robert "Dusty" Deschamps said of Griffith, according to the Missoulian. “I get the picture of a guy who is a sexual predator. Not a guy who got himself into a bad situation with a girl one day and now here he is.”
In the end, the defendant was sentenced to 20 years.
[Photo: Missoula County Sheriff’s Office]