Brandon Scott Price, 28, was serving as a Franklin County Regional Jail guard in Kentucky when he was assigned to take a female prisoner to the emergency department of a nearby hospital. The woman had high blood pressure that did not react to in-house therapy and continued to rise.
Price took the female prisoner alone to Frankfort Regional Medical Center, where he stayed with her for five hours after his shift finished. Throughout his time with her, he made “sexually charged statements” while emphasizing his ties with a Kentucky Department of Corrections staffer in charge of parole choices in an effort to bribe the prisoner.
After successfully treating the prisoner’s blood pressure, she was released into Price’s custody. Rather than transporting her back to the jail, Price drove off onto a quiet road and got into the back of the chained woman’s vehicle.
The tied woman was sexually attacked by Price. He later took her back to jail, where she claimed the assault. Price first disputed the claim. Nevertheless, when the facts didn’t fit up, he ultimately acknowledged to having sexual contact with the detainee.
Soon after, the female detainee filed a complaint against FCRJ employees, naming Price, then-jailer Rick Rogers, and Capt. Wes Culbertson. Price was first charged with third-degree sodomy, a Class D felony, but the allegation was eventually reduced to second-degree sexual assault, a Class A misdemeanor.
Price was likely to get a significant jail sentence after his sentencing by Judge Thomas Wingate. Rather than hurling the book at him, the court gave Price the option of going to jail for a year or joining the United States Armed Forces.
Judge Wingate’s judgment has been criticized for not only enabling an offender in a position of responsibility and influence to choose his sentence, but also for proposing military service as an alternative option to jail. In fact, he stated that he was doing Price a favor by providing him a way out of jail.
An enlistment order from a judge does not ensure that the criminal will be admitted into the military. Nevertheless, the thought of a sexual abuser evading justified jail time by joining the military is too much for some. Sadly, Judge Wingate’s decision is not the first of its sort, but this kind of punishment is often only issued during wartime.
The penalty is a smack in the face not just to Brandon Scott Price’s victim, but also to those who freely joined the United States Armed Forces. The valiant men and women who have courageously served their nation regard it as an honor and an achievement, rather than an unjust punishment equivalent to jail.
Price should not be given an option in the same way that his victim was not given an option in her torture. He should be imprisoned like any other criminal and face the penalties.
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