Judge Rebecca Dallet’s decision to give a man only two years for attempting to sexually assault minor children, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is disturbing. But it isn’t just the length of the sentence handed down by Dallet that’s raising concerns she was being soft on a pedophile.
Donald Bruce Skenandore was given two years in prison and five years of extended supervision in 2011, as recommended by the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office. That’s nowhere near the 20 years Skenandore could have been given, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
At the sentencing, Dallet said she considered the harm done to the child victims.
“In looking at the factors that I do look at, the ages of these children were pretty young,” Dallet said in her sentencing decision, according to the transcript. “As I said before, they were seven or eight. There wasn’t an extreme amount of harm. There wasn’t intercourse.”
Dallet’s campaign did not respond to an inquiry about whether the lack of “extreme amount of harm” was the result of the age of the children or the lack of sexual intercourse. Nor did Dallet’s campaign explain why Skenandore was allowed to be free on a signature bond after failing to show to court earlier, especially considering the seriousness of the offenses to which he had already pleaded guilty.
“At a hearing in June, Skenandore pleaded guilty, but he twice failed to appear at his sentencing,” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2011. “When he later turned himself in, a judge set Skenandore free without bail after he signed a bond promising to show up next time.”
When Skenandore failed to appear again, the sheriff’s department caught him at a “south-side church block party” listening to music while a clown was entertaining children nearby.
“This pedophile faced 90 years in prison upon conviction,” former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke told the Journal Sentinel at the time. “In a plea bargain, he faced 30 years in prison after pleading no contest. Why would any public servant allow Skenandore to be free without bail to roam Milwaukee neighborhoods where children play?”
Dallet seemed to acknowledge the threat Skenandore posed to the public. When Skenandore was finally sentenced, Dallet described the touching of the vaginal areas of the two small children as occurring over a six-year period.
“I think there is clearly something going on for you that you have got some kind of attraction to that aged child, because that’s something that would be repulsive to most individuals,” Dallet said. “So there is something going on for you there that I don’t know how long it’s been there, but I know it’s been there for at least a period of six years at a minimum. So it is something extremely serious.”
However, Dallet gave Skenandore the two-year sentence in jail and then credited Skenandore for the 47 days he already served awaiting trial. The five years of extended supervision included a requirement Skenandore not work in a job where he could have contact with children.
Alec Zimmerman, the Communications Director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said Dallet failed the child victims in this case.
“Rebecca Dallet had the opportunity to protect children and failed to act — handing down a weak sentence that was only a small fraction of what she could have given,” said Zimmerman. “As a liberal activist judge, Dallet cannot be trusted to keep Wisconsin families safe.”