(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The sentence of a St. Joseph man who pled guilty to a sex crime involving a minor is drawing backlash on social media.
Jay Summers, 48, was sentenced Monday to four years probation after pleading guilty to second-degree statutory sodomy.
Buchanan County Circuit Court Judge David Bolander sentenced Summers to probation after suspending a five-year sentence in the Department of Corrections.
Summers was accused of having sexual contact with a minor under the age of 17 between January 1, 2018 and September 1, 2018.
Summers pleaded guilty to the charges in January and was released on bond.
His sentence has come under fire on social media with hundreds of comments criticizing the decision of the court.
In an e-mail to KQ2, Buchanan County Prosecutor Ron Holliday said his office is aware of the interest in the case and the questions surrounding the sentence.
Holliday said probation was within the range of punishment for the crime, however, his office argued that Summers should be sentenced to prison at the sentencing hearing.
"The position of our office was that Mr. Summers should be sentenced to a term of incarceration in the Missouri Department of Corrections. This has been our position from the start of prosecution," Holliday stated.
Holliday said there was no plea agreement before Monday's sentencing hearing. A sentencing assessment report was also prepared by the Missouri Department of Probation and Parole. The report outlines the facts of the case, the impact of the crime on the victim, the background of the defendant, and various sentencing options, according to Holliday.
"Our job is to prosecute the case and make an argument for a particular disposition," Holliday stated. "It is the responsibility of the court to decide on a sentence."
Second-degree statutory sodomy is a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
When reached for comment, Judge Bolander said he was not permitted to discuss pending cases. Bolander was assigned to the case in 2018.
Summers' probation also calls for no contact with a minor without an adult sponsor present and he cannot live with minor children under 17 years old. Summers is also not allowed at Missouri Western State University and Phil Welch Stadium.