Three months …
When it was learned that former Port Carbon councilman Charles Joy could spend as little as 3 months in prison for his role in an online underage sex sting, a lot of people in Schuylkill County wondered if that was enough.
Chuck Joy Sentenced in Grindr Scandal
On July 3, Joy entered a guilty plea before Judge William E. Baldwin in Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas. Baldwin imposed a sentence of between 3 months and almost 2 years (23 months) behind bars on Joy. He must also register as a sex offender and serve 3 years probation. The probation sentence starts while Joy is in prison.
However, it’s what Joy plead guilty to and the subsequent punishment that has people upset. Does the punishment really fit the crime?
To quickly recap, Joy is one of 4 Schuylkill County men arrested as part of an investigation involving a sole underage victim.
The victim met Joy via the mobile gay dating app Grindr.
Following an investigation led by Tamaqua Police, Joy and the other 3 men involved were eventually taken into custody.
Joy was sent to prison on March 13, the same day he was arrested. He posted bail two days later and was out of jail until his sentencing earlier this month. As of now, Joy remains in Schuylkill County Prison.
Why a Reduced Sentence?
The charges Joy plead guilty to earlier this month make him a child sex predator. And he’ll have to register as a sex offender once he’s out of prison for 25 years.
But it could have been a lot worse. According to published reports, like from the Times-News, prosecutors and the parents of the victim wanted to avoid putting the child on trial. So, prosecutors with District Attorney Michael O’Pake’s office agreed to drop the most severe charges against Joy.
Joy was facing charges of statutory sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse but they were dropped. Each was a felony.
Instead, Joy agreed to plead guilty to indecent exposure and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old. Both those crimes are misdemeanors but the indecent exposure charge does carry a jail sentence.
So Many Questions
This case proved to be a real head-scratcher. And there are still three other men facing serious charges for their individual roles in this case.
One of them includes former Schuylkill County music teacher Dale Schimpf. It’s Schimpf’s case and arrest that first set off area residents. And it’s the one case where we learned the most details, as disturbing as they are.
We learned that Schimpf met the child victim on the Grindr app. They met, with Schimpf picking him up in his car, them going to dinner, and then back to Schimpf’s Frackville home.
Schimpf remains in Schuylkill County prison. He’s awaiting formal arraignment on charges similar to those Joy faced. Also facing similar charges are the other two men from Tamaqua, Matthew Delgado and Brad Murphy. Delgado remains in prison, too, while Murphy posted bail and awaits a potential trial.
Did Chuck Joy Get Too Lenient of a Sentence?
All these men, including Joy, were able to meet the child victim on the mobile dating app. That means the child had access to the app, which is one question a lot of people raised. Why was this child on this dating app?
Of course, that doesn’t by any means condone the behavior allegedly exhibited by these men. These are still alleged sex crimes against a child. There’s no argument that a child had any idea what they were doing. The victim is a child and the men accused in these cases allegedly took advantage of that fact.
So, when people get past the questions on why the victim was in this circumstance in the first place, the questions begin to build on the perps in this case.
Guilty plea or not and who knows what the future will hold for the other 3 cases, is the sentence Joy received fair? Of course, we don’t assume Joy’s life returns to normal the day he gets out of prison.
Sparing the victim the potential humiliation in having to testify is a good move by the District Attorney’s office. And Judge Baldwin followed state sentencing guidelines for the remaining charges against Joy. But does the result of that apparent leniency show that we, as a society, take these types of crimes seriously?
Tell us what you think …
Featured image: Licensed via DepositPhotos.com