There is a growing concern that those found guilty of sexual abuse and assault crimes do not face adequate punishment

Published: Dec. 4, 2019 at 10:19 PM CST
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A young girl under the age of 15 was sexually assaulted in Grand Forks. Sadly, it’s one of the thousands of such cases in the Valley.

"We see over 3,000 clients a year in our walls, but we know that there are so many more people in the community directly affected by violence," said Rachel Gronbach, Rape and Abuse Crisis Center Clinical Supervisor

33-year-old Derek Mortrud pleaded guilty to solicitation of a minor. He was sentenced to two years in prison with five years of probation.

"The way a person experiences the world after trauma can be so very different from pre-trauma,” Gronbach said. “The way they think about themselves, other people, the world as a whole, all of that can really change."

Gronbach says a person can potentially live with symptoms after trauma for the rest of their life.

Angela Daly, YWCA Shelter Services Director, says these incidents can trigger a number of different responses.

"There's depression, anxiety, chemical dependency, the impact of secondary traumas to the families and children that witness it," Daly said.

While the victim struggles, there is a growing concern that those found guilty of such crimes don't struggle enough, some getting out of jail too soon.

"I think ultimately it's a good sign that people are upset when they consider how much it's going to impact a survivor,” Gronbach said. “I think people get to be outraged by abuse."

We spoke to several defense attorneys about abuse and assault cases. They say there is no cookie cutter-answer.

Several different factors come into play. Was there bodily injury? Does the defendant have a history of these crimes? What's the right charge given the circumstances?

After reviewing several variables, the court system is set up to use the law for adequate sentencing, even though it often differs from the court of public option.

To learn more about the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center,

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