Over a decade ago, a convicted child rapist was given a light sentence by Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, only to commit another crime after his sentencing.
According to the New York Post, Leo Weekes was convicted in 2010 of raping his 13-year-old niece in 2006. He was sentenced to serve 16 months in jail, plus 4 years of supervised probation, and was ordered to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years. Weekes subsequently failed to register and evaded authorities by lying about his residence, claiming in 2013 to be in Washington D.C. when he in fact lived in Temple Hills, Maryland.
In February of 2014, Weekes was brought before Brown, who was then U.S. District Court Judge of the District of Columbia, after pleading guilty to the charge of failing to register as a sex offender. The prosecutors requested that Weekes be sentenced to two years in jail with an additional five years of supervised release, while his defense attorneys requested a sentence of 10 months and three years of supervised release.
Brown ultimately sided with Weekes, declaring that there was “no evidence” that Weekes intentionally evaded probation officers. “I do believe that criminal history is having a disproportionate impact on the sentence that the guidelines prescribe in this particular case in light of what you actually did here,” Brown said before issuing her ruling of just one year in prison, with credit for time served.
Then, in June of 2015, Weekes was arrested for attempting to rape his sister-in-law while she was babysitting for his wife. Although he initially faced a charge of first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances, his victim ultimately refused to cooperate with authorities, and the charge was dropped.
In March of 2016, Weekes pleaded guilty to charges of obstructing justice and failing to register as a sex offender; he was subsequently sentenced to five years and six months, respectively. When he was found to have violated his probation multiple times, he was once again brought before Brown in February of 2017. The prosecutor in that case reminded Brown of her lenient 12-month sentence the last time, noting that if the prosecutors had gotten their original sentence instead, Weekes would have still been in prison and unable to assault his sister-in-law.
Nevertheless, Brown once again gave him a lenient sentence for the later charges, ordering that his two-year sentence partially overlap with the sentence was already given for the assault on his sister-in-law.
Brown’s history of arguing for and imposing light sentences for sexual predators, child pornographers, and other sex offenders has been the subject of widespread backlash from Republicans in the United States Senate as her confirmation to the Supreme Court appears inevitable.
“This case is yet another example of information coming to light after the nomination hearing concluded because of the Democrats’ rushed vetting process,” said a Republican aide for the Senate Judiciary Committee. “At the hearing, senators rightly raised concerns about the consequences of light sentences for sex offenders. As this case sadly illustrates, those concerns aren’t theoretical.”