Matt Bevin, the outgoing ex-governor of Kentucky, thinks a 9-year-old’s hymen is scientific proof in a child rape case. Now a violent offender is back on the streets
Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin lost his reelection campaign to Democratic challenger Andy Beshear in November. But before leaving office, Bevin issued nearly 500 pardons to violent criminals, including murderers and sex offenders, citing his belief in “second chances.” One of those was 41-year-old Micah Schoettle, who was convicted of raping a 9-year-old girl.
Schoettle was convicted in 2018 of rape, incest, sodomy and other sexual offenses, and sentenced to 23 years in prison. After just 19 months, he’ll now walk free, and because his sentence was commuted by Bevin, he won’t even be required to register as a sex offender.
When asked how he could justify pardoning a child rapist, the former Kentucky governor replied, “Which one?”
That statement in itself is enough to turn even the strongest stomach. But Bevin went on to explain his reasoning for the pardon, and it’s absolutely horrifying.
“Both their hymens were intact,” he said of the victim and her sister, who was allegedly also raped by Schoettle. “This is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me, if you have been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically.”
That is simply not true. A peer-reviewed scientific study of child survivors of sexual abuse showed that just 2.1 percent of young children who had been raped showed any physical signs on their hymens.
The idea that hymens are an end-all, be-all test of whether someone has engaged in sexual activity (consenting or not) has been in a lot of headlines lately, after rapper T.I. explained in a podcast interview that he accompanies his 19-year-old daughter to the gynecologist for a yearly hymen check. This is just not scientifically sound. Hymens can be stretched and damaged by all kinds of activities. Some women just don’t have them to begin with. It’s trash science, and the fact that a Kentucky governor let a dangerous rapist walk free based on this should horrify people across the entire country.
Now, the 9-year-old victim’s family is scrambling to get an emergency order of protection, and considering moving to another part of the country. Schoettle is a member of their family, though, so they may never be able to feel truly safe from him as long as he’s out of prison. They should have had years of freedom and feeling safe to live their lives, but that’s been taken from them by Matt Bevin’s ignorance and disregard for the safety of his constituents.