Judge in Idaho High School Football Hanger Case Lashes Out, Says It Was Not ‘Rape’ or ‘Racial’


The Idaho judge who sentenced a former high school football player to just 300 hours of community service after he “more than likely” raped a developmentally disabled African-American teammate has accused the press (and public) of misrepresenting what happened. The judge says the case is not about “rape” or “sex” and that “people from the East Coast have no idea what this case is about.”

As previously reported by The Root, District Judge Randy Stoker sentenced John R.K. Howard, 19, originally of Keller, Texas, to 300 hours of community service after he pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child.


Still, because of the judge’s light sentence (and the recommendation of the prosecution), the 19-year-old will avoid jail time for his part in a brutal October 2015 attack of a black, mentally disabled high schooler whom he anally penetrated with a hanger and taught a song that glorified anal rape and the Ku Klux Klan, and whom he and other teammates repeatedly referred to as “nigger,” “chicken eater,” “watermelon” and “Kool-Aid.” And, tragically, even more.


The boy’s family is bringing a civil case in the incident, and the poor judge from the criminal case says he’s being miswepwesented by that doggone press.

“This is not a rape case,” said Judge Stoker, according to The Guardian. “This is not a sex case. This started out as penetration with a foreign object. ... Whatever happened in that locker room was not sexual. It wasn’t appropriate. There’s nothing in this record that supports anything close to the sexual allegation against this young man.”


Then Stoker said that the victim “was not targeted, which dispels in my view any claim of a racial incident.”

“Another individual who was involved said [the victim] was called ‘fried chicken’ because [he] said it was his favorite food,” said Stoker. “I don’t think it’s a racial slur.”


But when the victim testified during the preliminary hearing for another of the football players involved, he said that one of his “friends” motioned for him to come over and hugged him while another player shoved a hanger into his anus. Then, the victim said, Howard kicked the hanger, which pushed it further into his rectum.


“Pain that I have never felt took over my body,” he said during the April hearing, according to the transcript obtained by The Guardian. “I screamed, but afterwards, I kept it to myself.”

Howard was the only adult of the three young men charged in the case. Charges against the two minors involved (17 and 16 years old) were resolved in juvenile court, where state statute requires that all proceedings are sealed.


Stoker, meanwhile, is the subject of a Change.org petition to have him removed from the bench in Idaho, with almost 150,ooo signatures as of press time.


Read more at The Guardian.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.