As Jamie Ward reports for WTRF 7 News, a 24-year-old Maryland man has been convicted and sentenced to anywhere from six to 24 years behind bars in a case involving the rape of a 12-year-old girl.
Prosecutors said they offered him an “Alford plea,” which allows a defendant not to admit to actual guilt, in order to shorten the process, because the 12-year-old girl was experiencing significant hardship after the crime.
“The victim in this matter was having a lot of emotional difficulty in the aftermath of this rape,” said the prosecutor, as Ward quotes. The prosecutor went on to say that those involved, including her mother and father, didn’t want the girl to have to go to trial.
According to Ward’s report, the 24-year-old man now faces lifetime sexual offender registration, as well as possible deportation after his release from jail.
One state legislature has described the Alford plea as a kind of guilty plea in which the person accused says he or she is innocent of the charges, but acknowledges that there is quite possibly enough evidence to prove guilt. The Alford plea is not confined to sex offense cases; in fact, it originated out of a U.S. Supreme Court case involving first-degree murder.