A defense attorney for a Montana man who pleaded guilty to sexual assault charged suggested that his victim was a “temptress” in court Monday, The Missoulian reports.
Justin Griffith, 26, pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges in May after he was charged with sexual intercourse without consent with a 13-year-old girl who was a patient at the teen addiction recovery center where he worked.
At his sentencing hearing Monday, attorney Lisa Kaufman told the judge the girl “looks and acts like she’s 18 years old.”
“You should see the pictures of her and the hair and the makeup,” she told the judge.
Prosecutor Brian Lowney tried to interrupt Kaufman several times, saying, “I just find this whole conversation offensive.”
Kaufman claimed that teen girls at the center “acted out sexually” and Griffith had not received adequate training on how to handle those situations.
Lowney called it a “ridiculous assertion,” adding, “It is hardly a training issue not to have sex with a 13-year-old resident.”
More, via The Missoulian:
“He’s been around the block and he knows the score,” the judge said.
“So was she,” Kauffman responded.
During a tense exchange between Kauffman and Lowney during a court recess, she asked, “How about victims as temptresses, what do you think about that?”
The victim’s mother, who was seated behind the attorneys, told Kauffman not to speak about her child that way.
“I was just making a little slam,” Kauffman told her.
“About my daughter,” the woman replied.
“No, no, no,” Kauffman said, before apologizing…
Griffith was also charged with a second count of sexual intercourse without consent after another teen who had been at the recovery center reported he raped her. Lowney told Deschamps that charge was dropped as part of negotiations that led to Griffith’s guilty plea. He added that there was evidence Griffith had sexual contact with other teens at the recovery center.
Griffith was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with 16 of those years suspended.
“He’s not going to walk out of here with a probationary sentence.” the judge told Kaufman, who had asked for a deferred sentence. “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.”