Petition seeks ouster of judge who sentenced man to 60 days for incest with 12-year-old daughter

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A Montana judge is defending his decision to sentence a man to 60 days in jail for incest with his 12-year-old daughter.

An online petition at Change.org is criticizing the sentence and calling for impeachment of Judge John McKeon of Valley County, report the Washington Post, CBS News, the Associated Press and the Billings Gazette. More than 21,000 people had signed the petition as of Wednesday morning.

McKeon sentenced the Glasgow, Montana, man Oct. 4, giving him a 60-day jail sentence and a suspended sentence of 30 years in prison, the Glasgow Courier reports. The plea agreement had recommended a sentence of 25 years in prison.

McKeon said the defendant had support from his family, friends, church and employer. The victim’s mother and grandmother had written letters asking the judge to allow the defendant to remain in the community. In addition, a clinical social worker said the defendant would benefit from community-based sex offender treatment and was at low risk of re-offending.

McKeon defended his sentence in an email to the Associated Press. He said prosecutors did not challenge the social worker’s evaluation, and the plea agreement had allowed a sentence of less than 25 years in prison if called for by the evaluation.

McKeon said state law allows an exception to the 25-year mandatory prison sentence for incest if a psychosexual evaluation finds treatment “affords a better opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender and for the ultimate protection of the victim and society.”

The suspended sentence requires the defendant to comply with sex-offender treatment and allows only limited access to computers and the internet.

McKeon has been a judge for 22 years and is retiring next month.

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