Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hmong immigrant receives 8 years out of 40 max for raping wife

A Wisconsin man was sentenced to 8 out of a possible 40 years imprisonment Monday, June 28 for raping his wife, the first rape being when his victim was 12. Thaying Lor, 43, was convicted of 6 counts of sexual and attempted sexual assault by Judge Kevin Martens last December. The first four counts are before Wisconsin's truth-in-sentencing law, passed in 1999.

The case began when a bailiff overheard the victim testify in her divorce early last year about how she was kidnapped, raped and essentially sold into marriage at age 12. The victim never wanted to involve police out of respect for the Hmong culture, but the bailiff alerted law enforcement and Lor was charged 10 days later. The victim testified at trial that she came here from Laos in 1989.

Two years later, when she was 12, Lor used the promise of a trip to the mall to lure her to a house where she was essentially kidnapped and raped. Later, they were wed at a Hmong marriage ceremony after negotiations among their family members. Her mother testified at Lor's trial that the girl's parents accepted a $3,000 dowry.

It was that initial kidnapping of the then 12 year old girl which led to the longest sentence, 8 years. Three other rapes which led to the birth of children received a sentence of probation, which in my opinion, is much too light a sentence.  Judge Martens sentenced Lor to 4 years in prison with 8 years of supervision for 2nd degree sexual assault of his wife in 2005, and 2 years imprisonment with 4 years extended supervision for attempted rape in 2007. All of these prison terms are consecutive, with Lor being credited for 466 days in custody.

[The case] drew nationwide attention among Hmong-Americans, who feared it could lead to unfair judgment of their culture and an upsurge in Hmong wives making similar claims years after their weddings.  Prosecutors and advocates for victims of domestic violence sought much tougher punishment, while Lor's counsel and Hmong-American groups and individuals who sent dozens of letters recommended probation.

Before sentencing, Judge Martens said that this was a difficult case, "given the number of issues I'm asked to consider on both sides." Martens also said that the trial focused on Lor's conduct, and that "It would be wrong for anyone to take this as an indictment of the Hmong community as a whole."

The victim, who is raising the couple's 6 children, did not appear for her rapist's sentencing because of death threats she received from some in her community. "They have threatened to hunt me down like a squirrel in the woods," she said. She hoped that Judge Martens would send her husband to prison to send a message to other domestic violence and marital rape victims. Judge Martens message would have been that much stronger if he had sentenced Lor to 30 years and fully taken into account the pattern of abuse which had started with a 12 year old girl.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ridiculous... she doesnt deserve to be in prison!