Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dana Myhan Allen: Avoiding a Trial

Dana LaShana Myhan Allen has accepted a plea agreement that may or may not keep her out of prison. Let's look at some facts in the case of this married basketball coach:

1. "The boy will brag about it all his life." Really? If he's 14 or 44, it's still adultery. Bragging about that doesn't say much for him.

2. Why just the one charge? The other youths with whom Myhan allegedly had sex were over 16, the age of legal consent in Alabama.

3. Why the plea? A trial might have resulted in the others youths testifying against Myhan. Also, if convicted by a jury, the judge would have control over her ultimate sentence (he still does, but would have to provide a valid excuse for failing to accept a plea that both sides had agreed on).

4. Why only 36 months? Didn't Amanda Watkins get five years on two counts? Watkins was convicted by a jury. She was also a teacher; Myhan was only a volunteer coach at Wilson High School. Plus, different counties and different prosecutors were involved, making too many variables for the sentence to have been the same.

5. Will she get probation? That will also ultimately be up to Judge Jones. We predict she won't.

6. After conviction, will she get to see her underage children? Since this was Second Degree Rape and no forcible sexual molestation took place, there should be no problem with her having contact with any children whether her own or others.

7. Why even call it rape? Many object to this term, yet the consentual sex between an adult and a child under 12 qualifies as First Degree Rape. The word "rape" seems to have taken on more narrow connotations to some, just as "molest" has. We receive frequent reports of dogs molesting walkers in all areas of the Shoals, just not sexually we hope.

8. Isn't she really innocent since she had a "mental defect?" Everyone has some mental defect. Your next door neighbor may harbor an unreasonable fear of snakes or your best friend avoid escalators at all costs--that fact does not prevent them from knowing right from wrong, whether the crime is rape or murder.

Now Allen and her victim(s) wait for July 26th when she'll face her sentencing. We'll also learn at that time if she will be eligible for any early release programs. We don't envy Judge Jones these decisions.


The June court appearance of Kimberly Dawn Bynum has been postponed again. Bynum is accused of having consentual sex with a student under the age of 19. This month marks one year that the 30 year-old Vina teacher's life has been in limbo due to legal charges. The guilty verdicts and pleas of others in similar cases do not bode well for this former Franklin County teacher.


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