A brave woman

Monday, June 26, 2006

Khanthaly Keopraseut is courageous and determined. Since 2002, the 28-year-old mentally handicapped woman has been trying to bring three leaders in her church to justice. She accused the fellow members of the Marble Hill Bible Chapel of sexually assaulting her. Charges against one man were dismissed when a judge ruled Keopraseut was not a competent witness. A second defendant pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that brought him 60 days in jail.

The charges against Hurley Dixon were Keopraseut's and her family's last hope for justice. This time a judge ruled in her favor in a competency hearing.

Just before his trial was to begin last week in Poplar Bluff, Mo., Dixon pleaded guilty to sexual assault. In exchange, the prosecutor dropped three charges of sexual assault and two charges of deviate sexual assault against Dixon.

Dixon is 71 now. The prosecutor will recommend the judge sentence him to four years in prison, but Dixon will be admitted into the sexual offender assessment unit for 120 days. If the assessment determines that Dixon is not a threat to offend again he could be released from prison after only four months.

That would be a travesty of justice.

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