On April 2, 18-year-old high school student David Becker sexually assaulted two unconscious girls. MassLive.com reported that the East Longmeadow, Mass. native was charged with two counts of rape, and one count of indecent assault and battery on a person older than 14, for reportedly penetrating two female classmates with his fingers while they were unconscious on a bed after a house party.
On Monday, Becker was sentenced to two years probation with no jail time, despite Hampden County’s Assistant District Attorney Eileen Sears recommendation that Becker serve two years in prison.
According to MassLive.com, on the night Becker assaulted the two women, they had all been at a house party. Becker and the two women volunteered to stay after to help clean up:
After they finished [cleaning], one of the victims said, both girls went into an upstairs bedroom ― one requiring assistance walking up the stairs ― and Becker later came in to talk, before they all fell asleep in the same bed. Each reported waking up to Becker sexually assaulting them.
In a text message to one of the victims the next day, Becker apologized for the assault, court records show. The victim responded with a text telling Becker “don’t even worry about it,” but later told police that she said this because “she did not know what else to say,” Ingalls’ police report states.
After the sentencing, Becker’s defense attorney, Thomas Rooke, summed up his client’s sexual assault of two unconscious young girls as “one mistake at one moment on one night which was clouded with alcohol.”
A local news clip shows Becker and Rooke in court.
Rooke told the court that a two-year jail sentence would have “destroyed” Becker’s life, apparently forgetting that Becker’s actions may have destroyed the lives of his victims. He continued, characterizing the assault as a run-of-the-mill teenage error:
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. Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid’s life... He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender. 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.
Throughout the trial, Rooke was reportedly quick to point out that the 18-year-old was a three-sport athlete in high school who “clocked the second-most hours of community service in his class.”
James Leydon, a spokesperson for Hampden County District Attorney’s office, told MassLive.com that one of the two survivors read a victim impact statement in court. According to Leydon, the survivor said that she did not believe it was necessary for Becker’s sentence to include jail time.
Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid’s life. Thomas Rooke, Becker's attorney
The terms of the Becker’s probation require him to refrain from drinking or doing drugs, and he must submit to an evaluation for sex offender treatment. During this time the 18-year-old must stay away from the two 18-year-old women he sexually assaulted. If Becker complies to these rules throughout his two-year probation period, he won’t have to register as a sex offender and his record will be clean.
From Brock Turner and David Becker to Owen Labrie and the Vanderbilt gang rape case, all too often sexual assault cases are framed around how the crime will affect the perpetrators’ lives, rather than the victims’ lives.
As a Longmeadow resident said to MassLive.com about the Becker case: “How are the girls? That’s the question we’re missing here; are they OK?”