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Ex-College Football Player Who Pleaded Guilty To Rape Given No Jail Time By Judge

Photo: YouTube
Derek Nygaard

In the tumultuous time that we live in, there are a lot of questions about the efficacy and fairness of the United States legal system.

Sometimes, justice is served, other times it feels a lot like a swing and a miss. One recent case has a lot of people wondering how the court could have possibly come to the conclusion that it came to.

A 20-year-old was found guilty of rape and only received a sentence of probation.

Derek Nygaard was tried in court for rape after two instances in which Nygaard assaulted two separate victims.

One of the crimes took place in the fall of 2020 when the 20-year-old football player drunkenly went to his ex-girlfriend’s Montana home.

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Nygaard was reportedly struggling to walk at the time so his ex-girlfriend let him in, but the situation changed when Nygaard, still drunk, started to hit on her. The ex-girlfriend asked the drunk football player to leave, but rather than doing as she asked, Nygaard, covered her mouth and raped her in her own home.

Apparently, this wasn’t the first time that Nygaard had forced himself onto a woman.

In the days following the sexual assault at the ex-girlfriend’s home, another woman went to the police to report that she had been raped by Nygaard a month earlier. Reportedly, Nygaard wouldn’t take “no” for an answer with her either.

Nygaard pleaded to and was found guilty of one of the two counts of sexual intercourse without consent, which could have resulted in a 20-year prison sentence.

Much to the shock of many, Nygaard only received a sentence of probation, required counseling, and he would be registered as a sex offender.

On top of the inordinately light sentence, assuming that Nygaard behaved he would be able to ask the court to let him withdraw his guilty plea and have the case wiped from his criminal record. It would be like it never even happened.

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Many have found this sentencing… less than satisfactory.

It really doesn’t feel like the punishment fits the crime here, but there is one final twist in this story.

Unbelievably, this is what the victims wanted.

The prosecution said of the victims' wishes, “They hope he can take the necessary steps, with counseling, with all the conditions of supervision, and become a productive member of the community,” and that they hoped, “that nobody else has to go through the position they were in.”

Judge Krueger, who presided over the case, specifically cited the wishes of the victims when delivering the sentence, “What influences the court the most … is that the victims have indicated that they feel that you should be given a chance, and this chance you are getting is an incredible chance.”

This is a pretty unbelievable outcome and it definitely changes things that the victims specifically wanted Nygaard to get another chance.

I really hope they’re right about this.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.