Attorney Gloria Allred: 'Utah has a long way to go in terms of victim rights'
(KUTV)- Notable Women’s Rights attorney, Gloria Allred, was disappointed, but not surprised when she heard the ruling of a child sex abuse case.
In 2015, Robert Lant was charged with sexually assaulting a child in 2012, which is a 1st-degree felony that would carry a mandatory 15-year prison sentence.
The child was his step-daughter, Madison Monro. She was 11-years-old at the time of the abuse.
“I often remember the times I would stay up at night, afraid that he would come in again. I trusted him to wake me up in the morning to go ride horses, not to wake me up by touching my prepubescent body in ways a child should never be touched,” she read from her victim’s statement. “The anxiety, the insecurity, the depression from being molested is there and is real and will be with me for the rest of my entire life.”
Three years later, Robert Lant pleaded guilty to a lesser 3rd-degree felony charge of sexual assault of a minor. As part of the deal, the prosecution agreed not to ask the judge for prison time.
Allred traveled to Provo to support Madison and her family as she read her victim statement and heard the judge’s ruling.
“He did not ask for a prison sentence. He did ask for some jail time,” Allred said. “It was very surprising to me that the prosecutor agreed.”
They were hoping Lant would serve prison time. The judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail, 3 years probation, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
“The punishment should fit the crime,” Allred said. “It sends the message that child sex abuse does not matter.”
Local criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, Greg Skordas, said cases like these are complicated.
“Typically, a sentencing for a child sex case, you would expect it to be more than a 90-day jail sentence. But we may not know all of the factors that went into the judge’s determination to do that,” Skordas said. “You take into account the wishes of the victim and the victim’s family, the defendant’s criminal history, and just the need to protect society.”
Allred was disappointed that state law allowed a judge to give Lant such a minimal sentence.
“In my opinion, he should have been sentenced to prison,” Allred said. “I think Utah has a long way to go in terms of victim rights.”
Madison was happy to be heard, finally.
“Today, I am finally stronger than Robert Lant,” she said. “He will finally be unable to convince the people in my life that I am attention seeking and lying. My silence ends today.”
Allred believed Madison’s statement ensured the judge would give Lant at least some time behind bars. Madison hoped it would be more, though.
“I asked the judge, how much is a little girl worth?” Madison said. “I believe innocent children are worth every protection the law can offer and worth the maximum sentence.”