At an April house party in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, two female high school seniors allegedly woke up to their classmate, David Becker, penetrating them with his fingers.
Becker, who one victim told police was called “David the Rapist” by his friends, was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery.
Last week, Becker — who happened to be a star volleyball, soccer, and basketball player — was given only two years of probation for this crime.
“We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn’t be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender.”
“He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender,” his attorney, Thomas Rooke, said, as reported by Sean Teehan of MassLive.com.
“We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn’t be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender,” Rooke added, describing the alleged assault as “one mistake at one moment on one night which was clouded with alcohol.”
“Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid’s life.”
Palmer District Court Judge Thomas Estes ordered Becker’s case “continued without a finding,” which means there was likely enough evidence for a “reasonable jury” to find Becker guilty. However, if he upholds the conditions of his probation by remaining drug and alcohol free and avoiding contact with the two victims, and does not re-offend, then his case will be dismissed after two years.
From the beginning, Rooke has stressed that Becker is a “three-letter sportsman” with good grades who has “accumulated more community service hours than any other East Longmeadow High senior.” That, Rooke said, speaks to his character.
“He’s not this violent individual,” Rooke said. “He’s an individual very concerned about his community.”
According to the police report, the victims, Becker, and another friend stayed behind to clean up from a house party; after they finished, the two girls headed upstairs to the bedroom. Becker then came in to talk with them, and they all fell asleep in the same bed. That’s when the alleged assaults took place.
[One of the victims] told police that she was awoken by someone’s hand underneath her shirt on her breast, which she pushed away, before she felt a hand inside her pants on her buttocks, pushing the hand away again. After falling back asleep, she said, she awoke again when the person penetrated her with their finger.
According to MassLive.com, Becker sent apology text messages to one of the victims that morning:
After leaving the room, she said she received a text message from Becker at 5:13 a.m., stating “sorry, its my fault.” Another text Becker allegedly sent her about 2½ hours later says, “Very sorry about last night I was very much in the wrong and was an embarrassment … I understand if I’m not your favorite person right now.”
The victim reportedly responded to his text, “don’t even worry about it,” but according to the police report, she said this because she “did not know what else to say.”
Becker told police he believed the act was consensual. While other victims were not discovered, one victim initially told police that she had heard that Becker had done this before.
Eileen M. Sears, the Hampden County Assistant District Attorney, recommended two years in prison for Becker. Neither victim attended the court proceedings, and one victim provided a victim impact statement saying she didn’t believe jail time was necessary.
“He’s an individual very concerned about his community.”
Still, the lenient sentence given by Judge Estes in the case was reminiscent of the six months in jail, plus probation, given to Brock Turner, a star swimmer from Stanford University, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside of a frat party. The reasoning behind the leniency is similar as well.
“The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience,” Rooke said.
Judge Estes arranged so that Becker’s probation could be carried out in Ohio, where he was scheduled to attend the University of Dayton this fall. However, the University of Dayton told MassLive that Becker will not be a student there.