Former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) on Thursday defended his decision to pardon a man who was convicted of raping a child, saying the victim’s hymen had not been broken.
Micah Schoettle was arrested in 2016 after a middle school student reported to police that he had sexually assaulted her repeatedly since she was 9 years old, according to local reports. He was convicted of rape, sodomy and child sex abuse in 2018 and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
“There was zero evidence. Zero. Both their hymens were intact,” Bevin said of the victim and her sister when asked on WHAS Radio how he could pardon Schoettle.
“This is perhaps more specific than people want, but trust me, if you have been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically,” he added.
Dr. George Nichols, Kentucky’s former chief medical examiner, told the Louisville Courier Journal that Bevin is wrong about hymens and rape.
“Rape is not proved by hymen penetration,” he said. “Rape is proved by phallic penetration ... where the vaginal lips meet the outer surface of the vagina.”
Nichols didn’t serve under Bevin’s administration.
In his official pardon, Bevin said Schoettle was convicted “based only on testimony” and called the investigation and prosecution “sloppy.”
The victim’s mother told news station WCPO that Bevin’s decision to pardon Schoettle felt like a “slap in the face.”
“It feels like we’re going through it all over again ... we just got to the point where we felt safe leaving the house and not looking over our shoulders,” she said.
Schoettle is one of more than 400 people Bevin pardoned on his way out of office after losing Kentucky’s governor’s race in November. Many of the people pardoned were involved with controversial cases, including a convicted murderer and a man who pleaded guilty to sodomizing a drunk 15-year-old boy with a sex toy.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.