Do child rapists deserve the death penalty?

Filed under: Tweens, Media

In 2003, a Louisiana jury found Patrick Kennedy guilty of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter and sentenced him to death. The law states in Louisiana that aggravated rape of a child younger than 12 is punishable by "death or life imprisonment ... without parole." It is one of five states that allows juries to sentence convicted rapists to death. In May, 2007, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld this sentence.

Patrick Kennedy is appealing this sentence because his attorneys claim that the Louisiana law conflicts with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that "a sentence of death is grossly disproportionate and excessive punishment for the crime of rape."

Kennedy's claim is that he is the only person on death row in Louisiana for rape. However, Kennedy did not rape an adult, he raped an 8-year-old child. In fact, Dr. Scott Benton of Children's Hospital testified during the trial that the child's injuries from the rape were the worst he had ever seen in a sexual assault of a child. Kennedy also refused to plead guilty to a lesser charge, which would have reduced his sentence and removed the death penalty possibility from his sentence.

Kennedy's petition will be considered on January 4 by the Supreme Court Justices in a private conference.

Do you think Kennedy's conviction should be overturned as cruel and unusual? Do child rapists deserve the death penalty?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.