Martin Blake, an admitted child rapist, walked free from court last week after the judge presiding over the case suspended his 30-year sentence. Even though the prosecutors initially went after a 100-year sentence, they settled in a plea agreement which would garner Blake only a fraction of that. The judge, after listening to pleas from the victim’s family, let Blake go on probation.
Judge John C. McKeon has handed down one of the most outrageous sentences to an admitted sexual predator, in U.S. history. His decision sparked outrage in the community, who have since gathered over 85,000 signatures in a petition to have him removed from the bench. Despite the public outcry, McKeon defended his position, stating that removing Blake from the family home would do irreparable damage to the perpetrator’s two sons.
Blake only served sixty days for the rape of a child, a position that McKeon defended to the Washington Post. He told them that there was a loophole for incest suspects when the victim is under 12 years old. As per the Post report, McKeon indicated, “If a psychosexual evaluation determines psychiatric treatment ‘affords a better opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender and for the ultimate protection of the victim and society’ they can avoid prison time.”
Believe it or not, the child’s mother and grandmother pleaded with the court not to send Blake to prison. The victim’s mother wrote an impassioned letter to the judge, who obviously cared more about her feelings than the law of the land. “He needs help. He has two sons that still love him and need their father in their lives, even with very understandable restrictions. I would like to see my children have an opportunity to heal the relationship with their father. Please give him the opportunity to work on fixing the relationships he destroyed. He is not a monster, just a man that really screwed up and has been paying in many ways.”
The prosecution offered the deal for a single count, however, the investigation determined that it was not a single incident of rape, but a prolonged series of rapes over time. Thankfully this was not acceptable to the group Justice4Montana whose change.org petition has picked up over 85,000 signatures to oust Judge McKeon. They state that Judge McKeon ignored the will of the prosecutor and handed down a sentence that does not fit the crime. They claim he handed down a sentence that is in the best interests of the defendant, not the victim. They feel that Judge McKeon failed in his responsibilities to uphold the law, which he was required to do under the role of an elected servant of the people.
The judge attempted to reassure the public by stating that Blake is subject to strict probationary rules, and that the slightest violation would result in his going to prison to serve out his sentence. Unfortunately, his words do little to comfort the outraged public who are puzzled and angered by his dereliction of duty.
Contact Judge McKeon Directly:
Hon. John C. McKeon
304 3rd Avenue West
P.O. Box 470
Malta, MT 59538
654-1062; 654-2363 fax
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