Imperfect justice served

Published 9:54 am Thursday, January 15, 2009

In a perfect world, unchallengeable justice would be served in every criminal case. But, the reality is that our society has to sometimes settle for imperfect justice as the best outcome.

That may be the best way to describe the result in the sexual battery case against one-time Rock Hill band director Scott Jones.

In a case that has polarized the community, two female students accused Jones of sexual misconduct, incidents that occurred during and after class on school grounds.

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Jones’ supporters and detractors were very vocal about how they wanted to see the case resolved. Likely, neither side was happy with the results from court Tuesday.

However, the decision to plea bargain the case down to Jones pleading guilty to amended indictments of sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor, was probably the best scenario for the young women involved in this case.

Many have been critical of Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. for allowing a plea bargain that won’t result in Jones serving jail time. While Collier may rightly deserve criticism for his propensity to reach plea agreements, this is a situation where the quick resolution is about letting the healing begin and allowing these students to do what they can to resume normal lives.

The deal will keep the two females from having to endure a drawn-out and public trial, something that would have added more heartache to an already painful situation. That is likely why the victims and their families agreed to the resolution.

The plea isn’t without punishment. Jones will never teach again and must register for 15 years as a sex offender.

Is it enough? Maybe not but the personal cost to the victims that a trial would have created simply outweighs the chance of Jones getting jail time.

Justice was served even if it wasn’t perfect.