The sentence given to a southeast Iowa man Monday who plead guilty to molesting a toddler is drawing nationwide outrage.
Judge Randy Degeest handed Kraigen Grooms of Ottumwa a 10-year suspended sentence on a charge of lascivious acts with a child.
Grooms was initially charged with second-degree sexual abuse more than two years ago after a video surfaced online of him engaging in sexual intercourse with a toddler.
A nationwide manhunt led to groom’s capture. Groom’s 10-year suspended sentence has been perceived by many as excessively lenient and has drawn parallels to other recent cases of men avoiding maximum penalties for sexual assault.
An online petition on Whitehouse.gov to have the judge in this case removed from the bench has received nearly 1,000 signatures. But some say that the anger at the judge could be misplaced. Online court records indicate that a plea agreement was offered and accepted in this case.
Court documents don’t specify what exactly was offered and accepted. Wapello County Attorney Gary Oldenburger has yet to respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Nick Davis, KBIZ, Ottumwa)