CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA – A Virginia man will serve no active jail time after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

One of the biggest debates in the world of social sciences at the turn of the 20th century was the age-old question of “nature vs. nurture,” or whether or not human behavior is determined by heredity (“nature”) or environment (“nurture”).

Without rehashing tens of thousands of pages of academic argument, some of it quite impassioned and even acrimonious, we will jump right to what appears to be the modern consensus: both usually play an important role.

Common sense, really, but then most of the things that academics argue about usually are.

To the readers who just cannot restrain themselves from delving deeper into this debate, I recommend watching the Three Stooges episode Hoi Polloi. Much more entertaining than the learned articles on the subject, and just as correct.

The salient point is that, as individuals, we often learn from our experiences, consciously or otherwise. Sometimes this weakens existing behaviors, sometimes it reinforces them.

That being the case, it logically follows that a criminal justice system that is working correctly should have the effect of weakening existing criminal behaviors. When an individual’s experience with a criminal justice system instead reinforces criminal behavior, the system has not only failed, it is operating in a manner completely contrary to the fundamental intent that informs its purpose.

See, I can babble like an ivory-tower-dweller, too. It’s not hard.

What is hard is understanding what the judge was thinking in this case.

Logan Michael Osborn met his victim at prom in April of 2017. She was 14 then, he’s 19 now; you do the math.

A week later, they had a date to see a play together at his school, Cosby High School in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The play ended early, and Osborn suggested that they take a walk. She agreed.

Not being a student at Cosby, she didn’t know the lay of the land and he took advantage of that, leading her down a deserted path that ended at a fence. No potential witnesses. No escape.

Osborn forced her to her knees and tied a belt around her neck and then bound her hands with it. Then he forced her to do something else.

She cried. He didn’t care. Eventually, he untied her.

Upon picking her up from the date, the girl’s mother immediately realized that something was really wrong. What should have been a nice date with an athletically and academically talented older boy ended with a police interview and a rape kit.

Osborn’s attorney said that the act was consensual. Prosecutor Erin Barr found this characterization “offensive” and further clarified that in Virginia, a 14-year-old cannot legally give consent to a sexual act anyhow.

Osborn was evaluated by Dr. Evan Nelson, a clinical psychologist, who found that, according to a standardized test, Osborn represented a “moderately high risk” for committing future offenses. He felt it necessary to state that he believed this to be a low estimate and that in his professional opinion, Osborn was a “high” risk.

I think Nelson’s gauge is pretty good; the organized, efficient manner in which Osborn committed this offense, including the apparent pre-choice of an optimal spot and the employment of a very effective binding technique, indicates that this was not Osborn’s first offense.

We know that he’s a high risk to re-offend because he’s already a re-offender.

In fact, the court would learn that this was definitely not Osborn’s first time at the sexual assault rodeo. The prosecutor told the court that Osborn had “been accused seven times of engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with girls, and one of those earlier incidents resulted in him being charged, at age 12, with grabbing the genitals of another student.” That case was dismissed.

His attorney’s protestations of his innocence notwithstanding, Osborn pled guilty to “having carnal knowledge of the girl” in September of last year in a plea deal that eliminated a forcible sodomy charge. In January of this year, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail, with 8 years of the sentence suspended. The judge further stayed the two remaining years for six months, to give him “more time to review the case.”

On August 8th, the judge ended his review and announced the final sentence. He suspended the last two years of the sentence as well.

Osborn won’t serve a damn day in jail for what he did to that girl.

And that’s what makes this case so bothersome: it ended with yet another in a long, consistent history of wrong-headed, ruinous results. This young man has been taught since puberty that he can sexually assault others with little to no real repercussions. Every step along the way, the criminal justice system in Virginia has been reinforcing this behavior, as surely as Skinner reinforced his rats’ lever-pressing.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we will see this guy on the front page of the Demon again. Probably for something worse.

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