Let us see how many people cover this case in the coming days:
Iowa pastor and youth counselor Brent Girouex, who claimed with a straight face that he was trying to “cure” teenage boys of their “homosexual urges” by having sex with them, has had his sentence reduced from 17 years in prison to sex offender treatment and probation.
Since Girouex confessed to having sex with four underage boys, eight additional young men have come forward saying they were sexually violated by the 31-year-old pastor. Girouex, who is not longer a pastor at the Victory Fellowship Church, believed that he could rape away the gay by “praying while he had sexual contact” with the boys, all in an effort to keep them “sexually pure” for God.
According to reports, he told police that “when they would ejaculate, they would be getting rid of the evil thoughts in their mind.”
This is not the first time I have heard of someone using this kind of warped logic. The film Mea Maxima Culpa featured a similar account. While I am not a religious person, I do find it horrible when someone uses a person’s faith to justify violence against them. Not only did Girouex violate the boys’ bodies and trust, but he violated their faith. Using a child’s faith to trick them into abuse is truly disgusting.
Yet in this case there is added level of horror because Girouex’s job was to “cure” the boys of their homosexuality. He did something far beyond that. The potential damage he did is profound. These boys may now be completely confused about their sexuality. They do have genuine sexual interest in other males. What Girouex did could ruin the boys’ understanding of what a consensual and abusive relationship looks like. It can also affect how they react to other males’ interest in them.
Then there is this:
Girouex pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in the third degree. He also entered an Alford plea on two counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist, admitting prosecutors had enough evidence to find him guilty. One charge is a felony, and the other is a misdemeanor.
A judge issued a 17-year prison sentence Wednesday, but then suspended it to allow Girouex to get sex offender treatment and probation. Girouex’s probation will last five years — the maximum allowed by law.
Girouex will also be under the supervision of the Iowa Department of Corrections for the rest of his life, as part of the state’s special sentence for sex offenders,
None of the articles I read about the case give any reason for why the judge reduced Girouex’s sentence. I cannot fathom what the judge could come up with given the circumstance. This was clear predatory behavior, and five years of probation is hardly the right the sentence.
If the case receives as much media attention as the Stacey Rambold case, perhaps this judge will reconsider the decision.