A mother in Georgia, who recently pled guilty to allowing two men to rape her young daughters for drugs and cash, has been sentenced. Morgan Summerlin, 25 years old, has been sentenced to 30 years, 20 of which must be served in prison and the rest on probation.
Summerlin admitted in early May that she allowed the two men, Richard Office and Alfredo Trejo, to rape her daughters when they were 5 and 6 respectively. The children in question are now 6 and 7.
Summerlin’s defense attorney argued that Summerlin herself had been sexually abused as a child, as if personal knowledge of the impact of sexual abuse could possibly excuse her allowing her own children to experience it.
The “cycle of abuse” concept, that childhood victims are more likely to become victimizers in adulthood, has been largely debunked by a number of studies.
Although the research on the issue shows that childhood sex-abuse victims are more likely to to be charged with some sort of crime than those who suffered no abuse as children, those crimes are not statistically more likely to involve child sex abuse.
In other words, the “abused becomes abuser” myth doesn’t hold water. And the judge in this case rightly called Summerlin’s behavior “inexcusable.”
During the court case, Summerlin’s grandfather also told a judge that there had been an additional incident involving a 12 year old family member, which prosecutor’s said was similar to the two child rape cases at hand.
Prosecutors declined to describe that incident in detail any further, however, in order to protect the victim.
The two daughters testified that Richard Office, who is 78 years old, kissed and touched them both, and raped one of them at his home in Palmetto, GA. They also said that Office gave them each $100 afterwards. Their mother then immediately took the money from them.
A prosecutor in the case said that the two young girls were told to call Mr. Office “‘Pop”, and that he gave drugs to Summerlin.
Summerlin plead guilty in May to first-degree cruelty to children, trafficking a person for sexual servitude, and enticing a child for indecent purposes.
Morgan Summerlin’s own mother, the grandmother of the victims, was also arrested in connection to the case. She pleaded guilty to cruelty to children in the second degree, because she knew they were being sexually abused but did nothing to protect them. The grandmother was sentenced to five years, but one was commuted to time served and the rest will be served on probation.
The men involved in the case were both convicted of rape and molestation charges as well. Alfredo Trejo was convicted of rape, sexual battery, child molestation and aggravated child molestation. He was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison, and life on probation.
A jury found Richard Office guilty of rape, trafficking a person for sexual servitude, sexual battery, and child molestation. A judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 146 additional years. Given Office’s age, that sentence means he will surely die in prison.
The two girls are now living with family members, while their mother is in prison. Given the duration of Summerlin’s sentence, they will likely be adults before they see their mother again. And given the way Morgan Summerlin used and abused her daughters, that’s for the best.