11 Jun 2009

Mentally Disabled Teen Gets 100 Years in Prison in Child Sex Abuse Case

Attorneys and advocates are questioning why an 18-year-old East Texan with profound mental disabilities was sentenced to 100 years in prison in a child sex abuse case.

They say the case of Aaron Hart was mishandled from start to finish and raises questions over how to deal with the mentally disabled when they encounter the criminal justice system.


After a neighbor found Hart fondling her 6-year-old stepson in September, the East Texas teenager pleaded guilty to five counts, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

Hart has an IQ of 47 and was diagnosed as mentally disabled as a child. He never learned to read or write and speaks unsteadily. Despite being a target of bullies, he was courteous, well-behaved and earned money by doing chores for neighbors, supporters said. His parents say he'd never acted out sexually.