Judge Who Let Sex Offender Off Easy Asked to Resign

OC community outraged M. Marc Kelly gave convict 10 years for abusing 3-year-old
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2015 9:34 AM CDT
Judge Who Let Sex Offender Off Easy Asked to Resign
Patricia Wenskunas, Crime Survivors founder, demands the resignation of Judge M. Marc Kelly, who reduced 15 years off a minimum sentence for convicted sex offender Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto.   (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Cindy Yamanaka)

Calls for the resignation of Superior Judge M. Marc Kelly abound on Facebook; a Change.org petition has amassed 60,000 signatures; and Orange County, Calif., officials want him out. This after Kelly last Friday sentenced a man convicted of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old to just 10 years in prison instead of the mandated minimum of 25 years, the Los Angeles Times reports. Although Kelly called the crime "despicable," he also added that it would be "cruel and unusual punishment" to throw Kevin Rojano-Nieto in the slammer for a quarter-century, so he dropped the sentence down significantly and added that the 3-year-old victim "appears to be a happy, healthy child [who] … doesn't appear [to have] suffered any serious violent physical injuries, and by all accounts ... appears headed for a normal life."

At a press conference yesterday, three Orange County supervisors gathered in front of the OC courthouse to call for Kelly's resignation. "He must have forgotten that his job is to protect the victim, not the perpetrator," OC Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said at the presser, calling the ruling "unconscionable," per the Times. If Kelly doesn't voluntarily resign, he could be recalled, Supervisor Todd Spitzer noted, adding that Kelly had ventured beyond a judge's duty of following the law, actually making it himself instead. Rojano-Nieto also spoke at his sentencing, pleading, "Despite my actions and what people might say about me, that is not what is in my heart," the Times reports. Kelly hasn't commented publicly yet. Read more on Rojano-Nieto's crime here. (More resignation stories.)

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