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Hickson Gets Off Light in Molestation of Young Girl

A Column by the Editor
web posted July 25, 2012

COLUMN – I will admit from the beginning I have a very real bias in this case. The young girl victimized by now convicted sex offender Bobby Hickson is a neighbor and the family members are personal friends. I was deeply involved in the case from the very beginning. Although I do not begrudge Circuit Court Judge Thomas Russo for his ruling to agree to accept the plea agreement, I think the agreement did not fit the crime.

After the investigation concluded, here are the charges Bobby Hickson Sr. was charged with for the "planned" (her grandmother's words) sexual assault of the precious 14-year-old girl at his home while he was entrusted to protect her while in his care.   

Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, dropped to 2nd degree: 20 years.
Kidnapping: 25 to life.
Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (providing alcohol): 10 years.
Disseminating pornographic material to a minor: 10 years.
Lewd act upon a minor: 10 years.

Even if given the minimum for each count, Hickson, upon conviction, would face upwards of 75 years behind bars. As a result of the plea agreement he will serve only six.

As Judge Russo stated, he does not always agree with the plea agreements, but since the family of the victim and the victim agreed, he would accept it but chose on his own to impose Hickson having to register as a sex offender upon his release.

As I do in many cases, I observe as an objective spectator and understand the plea bargain process (of which I often disagree) as a fact of life. Six years for stealing the innocence of a 14-year-old girl who was just starting to find out who she wanted to be in life cannot be replaced.

With his plea on Tuesday, Bobby Wallace Hickson Sr. admitted he stole the innocence of a family friend's 14-year-old daughter and with that her past, her present, and her future. To serve only six years behind bars for his crime is absurd.

An 8th grader who had just finished the school year and was heading to high school in the coming fall should never be subjected to such heinous crimes.

I am a firm believer in that once a suspect has refused to accept a plea prior to trial and a jury being drawn; all deals should be off the table. The suspect should plead to the charges as filed or face trial. That would be in a perfect world.

The victim and the family are happy that Hickson is now a convicted sex offender, will do time behind bars, and will have to report as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Perhaps they are better Christians than I. I would not have allowed a plea of anything less than full absolution on all charges and the possibility of life behind bars once the trial was set to get underway.

That choice was theirs and I respect that decision.

Hickson should be greatful he was allowed to plea to such a light sentence.

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