Former Haskell student accused of rape to serve 60 days in jail for aggravated battery; judge notes defendant’s failure to apologize
A former Haskell Indian Nations University student accused of rape will spend 60 days in the Douglas County Jail for his part in the incident — a sentence that the victim in the case decried as “not enough.”
After pleading no contest to a lesser charge, Jared Wheeler, 21, was convicted of a single, felony count of aggravated battery in late November. He originally faced two felony counts of rape and one felony count of aggravated criminal sodomy.
On Friday Douglas County District Court Judge Paula Martin ordered Wheeler to serve 60 days in jail, followed by two years of probation.
For the duration of his probation, Wheeler has been ordered to obey the law, abstain from drugs and alcohol and refrain from contacting the victim. He has also been ordered to complete an anger management program. If he fails to follow the conditions of his probation, he may be ordered to serve more than a year in prison.
Before Martin announced her decision, the victim in the case and her family members addressed the court, expressing a will to move forward and dismay with the plea agreement Wheeler was allowed to make.
The victim was overcome by tears as she stood to speak. She was able to continue, however, after her mother rushed to her side and draped an arm around her shoulder.
“Every day is a struggle for me, against myself. It does make you insecure, it does make you question yourself,” she said. “It’s affected everything.”
However, the healing has begun, she said. Though she’s still plagued by nightmares, she’s now back in college and has found a new sense of strength and ambition.
Her family members and friends sniffled quietly as they listened.
“I forgive him in some sense,” the victim said of Wheeler. “Because if I can’t forgive him, then I’m always going to be broken.
“I still believe he should have gotten more than what was given to him,” she added, regarding Wheeler’s aggravated battery conviction. “It’s too light. It’s not enough.”
The victim’s mother and father echoed her statements, saying they’ll move forward as a family, but that they disagree with Wheeler’s single felony conviction.
Wheeler was also allowed to address the court.
“This whole case has affected my life, and I think that I’ve taken … positive steps,” he said. “And it’s motivated me even more than I have been motivated in my life because it’s more of a wake-up call to me.”
Near the end of the hearing Martin took a moment to offer a few of her own comments on the case and to express her disappointment in Wheeler’s words.
“All I heard is how this has affected your life. I didn’t hear a single word about how it affected (the victim’s) life,” she said. “She said all she wanted in the beginning was an apology, and two years later she still doesn’t have it. Your comments left much to be desired as far as showing any remorse for what brought you into this courtroom today.”
The charge that Wheeler was convicted of is a level-seven felony, according to the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines. Martin noted the 60-day jail sentence was the maximum amount of incarceration she was legally allowed to sentence Wheeler to serve.
Had he been convicted of the three original charges, Wheeler would have faced a minimum sentence of more than 36 years in prison and a maximum sentence of more than 163 years.
Both Wheeler and Galen Satoe, 22, were arrested in November 2014 after they were accused of raping the victim, then a 19-year-old freshman, in their dormitory room. Both were released from jail the same day after posting a $75,000 bond each. Both were expelled from Haskell.
The prosecution claimed that the two men attacked the woman, while the defendants argued throughout that the encounter was consensual.
In separate trials this summer, juries failed to reach unanimous decisions for Wheeler and Satoe. Mistrials were declared in both cases.
Satoe is currently awaiting trial. He faces two felony counts of rape and a single felony count of aiding and abetting attempted rape.
After Wheeler was sentenced, the victim, her family, friends and detectives involved in the case waited outside the courtroom for Wheeler to be placed in handcuffs and escorted out.
Disappointment hit again when they learned Wheeler was escorted out a back door in the courtroom.