An Alabama man has been convicted of raping a teenager three times.
But following his sentencing last week, Austin Clem, 25, will spend only two years in community corrections program aimed at nonviolent offenders and three years of probation—in other words, no actual prison time at all.
According to Mother Jones, Clem will be allowed to live at home during his time in the program, which aims to redirect “the lives of those likely to maintain a productive and law-abiding life as a result of accountability, guidance and direction to services they need.”
Clem was convicted of raping his young neighbor twice when she was 14 and again when she was 18. The first-degree and second-degree rape convictions are felonies punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison and two to 10 years in prison, respectively.
In the sentencing, Al.com reports, the judge handed Clem 40 years in prison, but then said he decided to “split” the sentence, issuing the perpetrator just five years of supervised community corrections program out of prison.
Clem, a former family friend of the victim, also sexually abused her when she was 13, according to the report.
Scott Berkowitz, the president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, said light sentences are “extremely frustrating” for victims. ”It suggests that the crime itself wasn’t that serious,” he said, adding rape “is the most violent crime that a victim lives to remember.”
“A sentence like this is more akin to littering than a sentence you would expect on serious charge like murder or rape,” Berkowitz said of Clem’s punishment.
The victim spoke out in a televised interview on a local news station.
“When does he have to pay? Because he still hasn’t had to,” she said. “I have to pay for the rest of my life. I’ve been paying since I was 13 years old. When does he have to pay?”
The victim told local station WAFF 48 that the convictions and expected incarceration had helped her recover.
“I was thinking, finally I stood up and I’m not afraid anymore,” she said. “Now is the day that I’m not going to walk around scared anymore because I’m going to know he’s behind bars. I’m going to know for sure that he doesn’t have the opportunity to hurt anybody the way he hurt me.”
Following a report in Mother Jones, the Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones told the magazine that he is “reviewing available options to set aside his sentence and to achieve a sentence that gives justice to our victim.”
The Limestone County District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to msnbc’s request for comment Saturday.
“Incredibly light sentences like this tend to be indicative of individual problems more than systemic problems,” RAINN’s Berkowitz said. “The good news is that when a sentence is this light and inconsistent with the seriousness of the crime is it attracts national attention.”