DENVER — A plea deal has left a Denver rape victim feeling victimized twice – first by her attacker, then by the judge.
Denver District Court Judge John Madden sentenced Jared Bates to 45 days in jail last Friday after the 29-year old man agreed to plead guilty to attempted sexual assault.
But since Bates had already served 47 days after his initial arrest, the judge released him for time served.
“I want women to know his face, I want them to know [Bates’] name. I want them to know the judge’s name, I want them to know that [Madden] decided how this was going to go,” Maria Crow said.
The 31-year-old was drinking with Bates in her apartment on June 23, 2018 when she blacked out. Her brother Michael Crow walked in and said he saw his sister lying unconscious with Bates standing over her with a knife.
“I saw my best friend Jared Bates standing over my sister and he was putting his private parts back into his pants, zipping up his pants,” Michael Crow said.
Michael Crow said he realized immediately his sister had been raped while she was passed out.
“She wasn’t breathing. That really freaked me out and so I called the police,” he said.
Denver police arrested Bates within minutes and the district attorney charged him with six counts, including sexual assault of a helpless victim.
Maria Crow felt her case was as strong as they get.
“I had DNA on my clothes. I had DNA on my face. I had residue all over my body. My pants were down…. And my brother walking in, and he was the witness to the crime,” she said.
But just before the trial, prosecutors struck a plea deal. Bates would plead guilty to attempted sexual assault and register as a sex offender.
In an email to KDVR, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office wrote, “Our office negotiated a plea agreement – that the victim approved – and which called for Jared Bates to serve up to three years in prison. At sentencing, we requested a three-year prison sentence.”
Instead, Madden gave Bates 45 days and 5 years probation. He was also required to register as a sex offender
Investigative reporter Rob Low spoke to Bates at the front door of his apartment. Bates refused to answer as to whether he thought the sentence was too lenient and initially said he couldn’t offer Maria Crow an apology but eventually did.
“If she were to listen to this, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything. I’m sorry for anything and everything,” Bates said. He also said he was just trying to move on with his life.
Maria Crow’s family said it hasn’t been easy for them to move on, especially because of the judge’s sentence.
“He shouldn’t be a judge no more if he’s going to give out sentences like this,” Michael Crow said.
Maria Crow said she’d appreciate an explanation from the judge.
She doesn’t blame prosecutors but in hindsight wishes she had taken her chances with a jury at trial, where Bates would’ve faced more serious felonies.
“After hearing all the details of this case, I cannot see 12 people looking at me [and saying] I deserve something like this,” Maria Crow said.
On Thursday evening, Colorado Judicial Department spokesman Rob McCallum said that under the Judicial Code of Conduct, Madden is prohibited from discussing cases and rulings.
Maria Crow’s father said he intends to start a recall effort against the judge.