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Editorial: Sentence sends wrong message to predators, victims

Editorial: Sentence sends wrong message to predators, victims

Man caught in sex sting deserved prison time
Editorial: Sentence sends wrong message to predators, victims
Photographer: Shutterstock

Good news for would-be pedophiles.

If you show up at a motel to have sex with a little girl — and it only turns out to be a police sting — you don’t have to go to prison.

That’s the message Albany County Judge Peter Lynch sent to Dante Camacho and his fellow sex offenders last week when he sentenced the 24-year-old to two months time served in jail and 10 months probation for attempting to have a three-way sexual encounter with a man and his 13-year-old stepdaughter.

Camacho was convicted in September of attempted second-degree rape and attempted second-degree criminal sex act for a 2016 incident at a Colonie motel as part of a police sting operation. 

He could have faced up to four years in state prison on the charges.

In speaking with an undercover officer posing as the stepfather of a 13-year-old girl, Camacho said, “I would love to get some one-on-one with (the girl),” according to court testimony reported in the Albany Times Union.

According to the prosecutor, Camacho believed he was talking to the girl’s stepfather. He believed he was about to engage in sex with the man and the teenager. He even brought condoms.

His nonsensical defense was that he was “role playing” and his conversations with the officer were “locker room talk.”

Even the judge called it “ludicrous.”

But he must have bought Camacho’s whiny pleas for mercy — about how he’s really a good person and that he’d never hurt anybody and that it will never happen again — because he imposed a gift sentence he called “just and appropriate.”

Just?

Appropriate?

For whom?

The case against Camacho was strong enough to convince a jury of nine women and three men to convict him after only a few hours of deliberation.

The jury did its job. Police did their job. Prosecutors did their job. The judge didn’t do his.

This sentence sends the wrong message to not only to sex offenders, but to the police trying to stop them and to all women and children who are vulnerable to sexual assault and forced servitude. 

The reason police conduct these stings is to draw out and catch those who would participate in such crimes in order to get them off the street. 

What if there was a real child who was this man’s real stepdaughter? And what if the two adults had gone through with a real attack? Would this sentence have been “just” and “appropriate” then?

All this sentence taught Camacho and others of his ilk is to be extra cautious, and that if you’re caught, make sure you have a good sob story ready.

Lynch was elected to a 14-year term in state Supreme Court on Nov. 6.

We wonder if voters would have been so generous with their support had this sentence be handed down on Nov. 5.

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