Kentucky governor defends pardoning convicted child rapist

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CNN) — It’s not uncommon for governors and presidents to issue pardons before leaving office. But the crimes some of the people Kentucky’s former governor recently pardoned are so heinous… a prosecutor is calling for a review.

His single term as governor may be over, but Matt Bevin keeps drawing criticism about hundreds of pardons he issued just before leaving office last week.

On Thursday, Bevin took to the airwaves defending his decision to pardon convicted child rapist Micah Schoettle. His reason? His 9-year old victim’s hymen was quote: “intact.”

“This is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me if you had been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically. there was zero evidence of that,” Bevin said.

In more of the ex-governor’s interview with radio station WHAS, Bevin claimed an examination of the child yielded little physical evidence of rape.

“This man was convicted purely on something that there’s no corroboration for. And there is a system that should have caught this long before that. You should not be sent to jail based simply on the word, an uncorroborated word, of a single individual especially when it is possible to verify that medically and physically, and there were no ability to do so,” Bevin said.

But that shouldn’t be the only factor, according to medical researchers. A 2012 study in Forensic Science International revealed physical signs of sex abuse should not be the only indication of an assault on a child. The survey found approximately “90% of child victims of abuse do not show evidence of physical damage.”

Prosecutors are also questioning the pardoning, including Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders, who originally pursued the case against Schoettle. In a statement, Sanders calls for review of the former governor’s actions:

“I would prefer a statewide investigation led by either federal law enforcement or a special prosecutor appointed by the Kentucky attorney general, however, to my knowledge, that hasn’t happened. Until then, I will be conducting my own investigation into the Schoettle pardon,” Sanders said.

CNN reached out to Bevin and to Schoettle’s attorney for comment.

Before this week’s radio interview, Bevin posted statements on Twitter defending his pardons and commutations of sentences. Bevin said the justice system isn’t perfect and, “I personally spent hundreds of hours reading every application and file of those who received a pardon.”

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