TRINITY, Ala. (WHNT) – For more than a year now one woman has been working as an advocate for rape victims, after her own daughter was raped as a teenager.
WHNT News 19 first spoke with Bonnie Teague last November, after her daughter’s convicted rapist had only been in jail for about 6 months.
Teague’s daughter was a victim of rape at only 13 years old. On a plea deal the abuser was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but because of Alabama’s “Good Time” policy, he will only serve 5 years behind bars.
“[The prisoners] don’t even have to earn it, yes it can be taken away, but that Good Time credit is automatically applied the minute they get in jail,” said Teague. “I’m thinking about our kids. How do they ever get their life back?`
Alabama’s rape law has two classes – Felony Class A (Rape One) and Class B (Rape Two). Class A involves a victim younger than 12, a sentence of 10 years to life, with no “Good Time” reductions or parole. Class B is when the victim is between 12 and 16 years old, carries a sentence of two to 20 years, with early release allowances.
“My argument is, when a child is 13, 14, 15, they’re still a child, and the same penalties should apply,” said Teague.
Teague had hoped lawmakers would heed her petitions during the 2013 legislative session, but the session came and went.
“I’ve started working on it again and as far as the people I’ve talked to, they’ve been very open to it. And they realize some laws need to be changed in this.”
So far Teague has gained support from Representatives Ken Johnson and Steve Hurst, and Senator Paul Bussmann. She has a meeting scheduled with Senator Arthur Orr in December.
“Even if you get one representative behind you, you have to get others behind you for it to ever pass,” said Teague. “But I’m going to keep trying because I want to make sure that anybody that ever touches another child pays and pays dearly.”
Teague says she hopes the public will join her in her efforts to strengthen sentencing laws in Alabama rape cases, by contacting their legislators as well.