“It’s Gonna Happen Again:” Father Denounces Judge’s Lenient Sentence of Daughter’s Rapist


A Polk County father is speaking out after a judge handed his teenage daughter’s rapist a slap on the wrist, allowing the predator to walk free in a matter of months.

Eli Binnion was convicted of forcibly sexually assaulting the child in 2018 when he was 19 and his victim was 14, according to Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon, who characterized Binnion to FOX 26 as a dangerous predator.

Hon told the news outlet that prosecutors recommended 15 years in prison, but Polk County District Court Judge Travis Kitchens sentenced the rapist to just 180 days in jail as part of probation and no prison time whatsoever.

Court records show that Binnion viciously attacked a fellow inmate, breaking his jaw, while in jail for the rape in 2018. Judge Kitchens gave Binnion a three-year sentence for that crime, apparently placing a jail fight above the brutal rape of a child in terms of severity.

“Be careful what judges you elect,” the girl’s father told FOX 26.

“What is the judge telling our children when we try to teach our children to go to the police?” the father went on. “Let the police handle everything. Let the law do it. That’s what their job is, and then this happens. You get a slap on the wrist. No victim is gonna want to come forward and go through all of the struggles and all of the ordeal that they have to go through, just for the person to get out and walk free.”

FOX 26 continues:

The rape allegedly happened at the Hampton Inn in Livingston during a 4th of July gathering in 2018. The victim’s father says she left the gathering at her family’s home and rode with two other people to get supplies from the hotel and return to the gathering. One of the people she rode with was Eli Binnion–someone the girl’s father says he’s known for years. He never thought he’d do something like this.

The District Attorney says Binnion followed the girl into the hotel room, forced her down on the bed, and raped her. Nearly three years later, she now knows her rapist will be free in a matter of months.

“I know that I’ve went in the room and she’s crying at night, can’t sleep, jumpy, jittery, emotional at times,” said the girl’s father. “She’s strong though. She’s coming over it best as can be expected, I guess. But she still had something taken from her that shouldn’t have been.”

“He made a very bad decision, and I pray that he doesn’t regret the decision he made, cause it’s gonna happen again,” the father said of Judge Kitchens. “People like that don’t just stop.”

“I promised my daughter justice,” he concluded. “And obviously I was wrong because the court system is not gonna give it to her.”

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