Sgt. Joseph Thomas French, formerly of Joint Base Lewis-McChord was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison. A life sentence was on the table, but U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton chose to impose a much lighter sentence on the 29 year-old Soldier.
The victim was raped repeatedly by French over the course of three years, beginning when she was just seven years-old. In horrors too much for the mind, the little girl, now 10, was often bound to a bed and raped repeatedly while French broadcast the rapes via Skype. French said he often inflicted abuse on the child while others watched online.
In at least one case, he let the voyeurs call out the type of abuse they wanted to see. Court papers say one of the viewers of the abuse was another Army sergeant, although, if he was identified, it is not clear that he was arrested or prosecuted.
The investigation began in February 2014, when the child’s mother went to authorities. Reports indicated the little girl might have reported the abuses to an adult other than her mother initially; that was not verified. Once authorities were notified, the rapist was immediately identified and arrested. There was never a mention of French’s relationship to the child or her family, although the abuses apparently took place in more than one state.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department contacted the FBI after learning of the brutal and repeated rapes. One Tacoma-based FBI agent said French “ignored please from the girl to stop the abuse.”
Fox Q 13 News: The FBI agent said French confessed to raping the girl at least 15 times, at least once in a residence in Chipley, Florida, and other times at his residence on JBLM. The agent said French also admitted to taking sexually explicit photos of her, which authorities said were posted on a specific website.
French will be required to register as a sex-offender upon his release and will be under court-ordered supervision for the remainder of his life. Failure to comply with those conditions will land him back in prison.
Examiner’s Note: News writers don’t get to choose the news feeds that come across the wires. This story goes beyond a normal person’s imagination and sickened me to write. I apologize for the graphic content and cry for a little girl who obviously had little parental intervention or supervision to help her get out of this desperate situation. One finds it hard to image how a judge could hand out such a light sentence. At the first rape, the little girl was given a life sentence of her own.
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