Former high school athlete David Becker, 18, was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery following an incident which took place on April 2 just after a house party in Palmer, Massachusetts.
The incident came to the attention of authorities after a student told the high school resource officer about a rumor circulating the school concerning a senior who had assaulted two teenage girls while they were intoxicated.
The resource officer located the victims, both also 18, who stated that they had been drinking during a house party. The girls said that they stayed to assist Becker and the classmate with the clean-up.
The girls told the officer that they went to an upstairs bedroom where they both talked to Becker until all three of the teens fell asleep.
The victims said they woke up to find Becker sexually assaulting them.
According to the victims, the following day Becker sent a text message apology to one of them.
Becker told authorities that he denied having sexual contact with one of the victims but said he believed that the sexual contact with the other had been consensual because she didn’t stop him.
The women also stated that they had heard rumors of Becker assaulting other girls in the past; these tales earned him the nickname “David the Rapist” around the school. A nickname that Becker’s attorney classified as “unjust character assassination.”
However, police could find no evidence that Becker had committed any previous sexual assaults, also one of the victims did tell the court that she didn’t believe jail time was necessary.
Upon sentencing, the judge decided to closely follow the sentence offered by Becker’s attorney. He ordered that the teen’s case be continued for two years and that he serve two years probation. Becker was also ordered to avoid drugs and alcohol. He was told to submit to an evaluation for sex offender treatment, and to stay clear of his two victims.
Becker, who’s a three-sport athlete, will be allowed to serve his probation in Ohio, where he is to attend college. He also will not have to register as sex offender.
If the teen completes the terms of his probation, no conviction will appear on his record.
“He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender,” said his attorney, Thomas Rooke. “The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience.”
The judge made it clear that he didn’t believe Becker was a bad kid, and that everyone makes a few “mistakes” at that age. He felt that the teen should have a chance at a real future without being burdened with a felony sexual assault conviction.
We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn’t be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender,” Rooke said. “Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid’s life.
This miscarriage of justice is far from uncommon. Handsome star athletes often go into a courtroom with tons of support, while their victims are looked upon as pariahs.
While it’s impossible to know what one of the victims was thinking when she decided to support the attorney’s recommendation for a lighter sentence, it’s not uncommon for teen victims to feel pressure from their peers to drop charges or otherwise help the star athlete in some way.
Now, Becker is free to go to college where he might meet his future wife and raise a family. Meanwhile, his victims have a lifetime’s worth of emotional and psychological damage that they have to just learn to live with.
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