A judge sentenced Melissa Kay Anderson to five life term sentences for raping a young male relative. According to the article:
Three of the counts pertain to sex acts that Anderson performed on the boy and made him perform on her. The other two counts accuse her of having sex with Michael Burris, her boyfriend and co-defendant, in front of the victim and showing the victim pornography.
The Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray asked for a life sentence due to the nature of abuse. Gray stated that this was the worst abuse he had seen.
Another article gives more information about the case:
The child victim is being credited with providing police detailed specifics regarding his abuse at the hands of Anderson and Burris. The child said that the sexual abuse began around his tenth birthday and took place at different times and in different locations.
During the course of his interviews, the boy was able to describe the kinds of sexual abuse he endured as well as being able to describe “the sex toys the couple used on each other and forced him to use on Anderson.” Police said that the 10 year old “is a total hero to speak out when he did and to tell his story, and that’s to be commended.”
District Judge Caroline Wall agreed with Gray and not only sentenced Anderson to life terms on all five counts, but also made the sentences consecutive.
Anderson’s public defender attempted to argue for a lesser sentence:
Public defender Chuck Sullivan countered that the system had failed Anderson from a young age by not properly addressing and treating abuse she suffered as a child that resulted in her being placed in foster care. He maintained that a life sentence would be “excessive” and akin to failing her a second time by not allowing her to seek rehabilitation.
Another aspect to this crime is Anderson’s drug use:
The author of Anderson’s presentencing investigation report, which is issued by the Department of Corrections, noted that she said the crimes occurred while she was high on methamphetamine and that she did not recall most of the incidents. However, she did state that she knew the victim would not lie about what had happened.
Considering that information, I think it is fair for Anderson to receive a stiff sentence. No amount of drug use or prior child abuse excuses sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy. However, a life sentence seems rather excessive. Five life sentences seems rather extreme. Five consecutive life sentences is unjustifiable.
Anderson will only live once, so if the goal is to ensure she dies in prison one life sentence would suffice. I think five to 10 years per count would have been a better sentence. They could run consecutively, and that would keep Anderson in prison for several decades even with good behavior. At the earliest she could be out of prison in 15 to 20 years. That seems fair.
That said, I am rather surprised that a woman would receive this kind of sentence. What she did must be truly disgusting to prompt this response from the prosecutor and the judge.