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Blogger Kyle Payne sentenced to six months in county jail
Stating that a major violation of trust had occurred, District Court Judge Don Courtney sentenced Iowa blogger and self-proclaimed male feminist Kyle Payne to serve time in the Buena Vista County Jail for invasion of privacy.
Payne received 360 days, with 180 days suspended on each of two counts of invasion of privacy, a serious misdemeanor charge. Because the two sentences are expected to run concurrent, he will most likely serve six months in the county facility. He was also given one year of probation on each count. On the charge of 2nd degree attempted burglary, a felony, Payne received an indeterminate term of prison not to exceed five years, with incarceration suspended. He will placed on probation for three years.
Under a new portion of Iowa law that involves sexually-related crimes, Payne was given a 10 year period of parole. That sentence begins at the end of his regular term of probation. Because of the nature of his crime, he will not be required to register as a sex offender in the state of Iowa.
Payne was arrested in February and pleaded guilty in June to two counts of invasion of privacy, a serious misdemeanor, and one count of 2nd degree attempted burglary, a felony. The charges stemmed from an incident in 2007 when Payne was a dormitory resident at Buena Vista University and, during the course of his duties, secretly photographed a young woman’s breasts.
“This is the type of thing that happens, but not to you,” said the victim as she read from a prepared impact statement in court today. “… You might be given jail time, but for me this is like a life sentence.”
She added that since she was unconscious, Payne is the only person who truly knows what happened that night and left the implication hanging that there might have been more to the event than him partially undressing her, touching her inappropriately and shooting photographs and video.
The victim’s mother, who also provided an impact statement in court, said that the incident had “crushed the spirit of her daughter” and has fractured her ability to trust others.
“You are a sick young man,” the mother said. “I think you’ve done this before and will do it again. Our family does not accept your apology. We do not care about your self-inflicted suffering. You reap what you sow.”
Quoting repeatedly from Payne’s most recent blog post and pointing to what he described as a “narcistic” tendancies, Buena Vista County Attorney Dave Patton requested the court sentence Payne to
“[His blog post] indicates that he believes this is not all about the victim,” Patton said. “He believes it is all about him.”
F. Montgomery Brown, who served as Payne’s attorney, argued for a deferment while documenting how “the blogosphere lit into” Payne.
“Why was this kid so sensational?” Brown asked the court. “Because he made a spectacle of himself, in part. … But being a hypocrite is not a sentencing factor.”
Several feminist bloggers have written about the case because Payne had been so public with not only his feminist leanings, but his advocacy on behalf of victims of rape and sexual assault.
“He can’t be penalized for exercising his Constitutional rights,” Brown said of the blog post. “Frankly, I’m asking the court to be creative.”
Payne spoke briefly in his own defense, apologizing to the victim and her family and promising “to make changes in my life so it doesn’t happen again.” He then sobbed openly.
Judge Courtney, acknowledging his sentence as a compromise that would please no one, said he opted for county jail time instead of a prison term because of the both Payne’s age and the fact that he had no prior criminal record. One of the conditions of his probation will be to follow the directions of the correctional team, including continued therapy and counseling.
Payne was given one week to place his affairs in order before he will relinquish himself to the Buena Vista County Jail.