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Kentucky's Ex-Governor Pardoned A Convicted Child Rapist Because The Victim's Hymen Was Intact

Former governor Matt Bevin defended his decision to pardon a man convicted for the sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl in a radio interview Thursday.

Posted on December 20, 2019, at 6:34 p.m. ET

Mandel Ngan / Getty Images

President Donald Trump and then–Kentucky governor Matt Bevin at a rally in Lexington, Kentucky, Nov. 4.

Former Kentucky governor Matt Bevin defended his decision during his last days in office to pardon a man convicted of raping a 9-year-old girl and continuing to sexually abuse her for two years because the victim's hymen was intact.

"Trust me, if you have been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of this physically and medically, and there was zero evidence of that," he said during a radio interview Thursday.

Bevin issued 428 pardons and commutations of sentences during his last days in office. Among those he pardoned was 41-year-old Micah Schoettle.

On Sept. 14, 2016, a middle school student reported that she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by Schoettle beginning when she was 9 years old, according to a news release issued by the commonwealth attorney's office at the time of the verdict.

Following an investigation, he was arrested, and on May 29, 2018, Schoettle was convicted of rape, sexual abuse, sodomy, and other sexual offenses. The judge followed the jury's recommendation and sentenced Schoettle to 23 years in prison.

In Thursday's radio interview, host Terry Meiners grilled Bevin about his decision to pardon Schoettle.

"You’re the father of nine," Meiners asked.

"I am," Bevin said.

Meiners then asked the former governor why he would pardon a convicted child rapist.

"Which one though, because there were a couple of people that were accused of that whose sentences I commuted," he said.

When Meiners clarified that he was referring to Schoettle, Bevin said that the lack of physical evidence of rape motivated the decision to pardon.

"This man was convicted purely on something that there’s no corroboration for," Bevin said. "You should not be sent to jail based simply on the word and uncorroborated word of a single individual, especially when it is possible to verify that medically and physically."

Following Bevin's assertion, retired Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner George Nichols told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Bevin "not only doesn't know the law, in my humble opinion, he doesn't know medicine and anatomy."

"Rape is not proved by hymen penetration,” said Nichols, who started the child abuse evaluation system at Norton Children's Hospital, formerly Kosair Children’s Hospital, in Louisville. “Rape is proved by phallic penetration...where the vaginal lips meet the outer surface of the vagina."

Nichols also told the Courier-Journal that he had worked for six consecutive governors as chief medical examiner, "and fortunately didn't have to report to that asshole."

Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders, whose office prosecuted Schoettle, said that the former governor "is ignorant of the medicine and science in child rape cases.”

"Even the defense experts testified they would not expect to find an injury in the victim’s sexual assault exam,” Sanders told the Courier-Journal. “This was the subject of an eight-hour court hearing Matt Bevin obviously never watched.”

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