A judge this week sentenced a 25-year-old Orange City man to three-hundred days in jail for his role in the alcohol-poisoning death of a 16-year-old boy last June. Paul Ryan Van Beek pleaded guilty to supplying liquor to several teen guests at his parents’ home that night.
The judge says he studied the case thoroughly before ruling that Van Beek will spend 100 days in jail in each of the next three summers, and will give 13 presentations to young people on the dangers of alcohol. Sioux County Attorney Melissa O’Rourke says the sentence fits the crime. “The way (the judge) put together the sentence does assure that this particular defendant will think about this very seriously over the next three years,” O’Rourke says. “His next three summers will be spent in jail.”
She says Van Beek’s presentations should get the attention of young people, when he talks about the dangers they face with alcohol. “It’s very hard with young people,” O’Rourke says. “Everybody thinks it’s never going to happen to me, especially young people who think they are invincible in many ways.” The county attorney says while each crime is different, she would not be opposed to other creative sentences in the future.
If she had a similar case where an unorthodox sentence seemed to fit, O’Rourke says she’d look at it. She says she’s always tried to use “restorative justice” which can include terms of probation that implement not only punishment but also rehabilitation, restoration, and “healing in the community.” After 16-year-old Ryan Koenen was taken to an emergency room, doctors were unable to revive him. His blood-alcohol reading was point-three-four percent, more than four times the legal limit for drunk driving.