Written by Ian Millhiser
Last summer, a drunk Arizona police officer named Robb Gary Evans drove himself to a bar, flashed his badge to avoid paying cover at the door, and then walked up behind a woman, put his hand up her skirt, and ran his fingers over her genitals. A jury convicted him of sexual abuse, a felony with a maximum sentence of 2 and a half years in prison, and Evans was fired from the police force after an internal investigation.
Nevertheless, Arizona trial Judge Jacqueline Hatch, who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ), decided that Evans’ actions did not warrant jail time — sentencing him probation and 100 hours of community service. Evans also will not have to register as a sex offender. Yet, while Judge Hatch apparently did not view the disgraced former cop’s actions as particularly serious, she had some very harsh words for the woman he assaulted:
Bad things can happen in bars, Hatch told the victim, adding that other people might be more intoxicated than she was.
“If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,” Hatch said.
Hatch told the victim and the defendant that no one would be happy with the sentence she gave, but that finding an appropriate sentence was her duty.
“I hope you look at what you’ve been through and try to take something positive out of it,” Hatch said to the victim in court. “You learned a lesson about friendship and you learned a lesson about vulnerability.”
Hatch said that the victim was not to blame in the case, but that all women must be vigilant against becoming victims.
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change,” Hatch said that her mother used to say.
The victim, who has not been identified by the press, called for Judge Hatch to apologize for her offensive comments, adding that if she had not been at the bar to be assaulted by Evans, “it probably would have happened to someone else.”
This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.
Photo: Coconino County Courts