February 12th, 2020, the Earl of Strathmore Simon Bowes-Lyons (first cousin twice removed to the Queen) hosted an event at his home, Glamis Castle, in Angus, Scotland. At some point in the night he forced his way into the bedroom where a female guest from his event was sleeping. Once he gained entry he assaulted her for 20 minutes and ignored any of her attempts to get him to stop and any pleas that she uttered seemingly went unheard.
The following morning she returned to her own home and contacted local authorities to report the attack and press charges.
This brings us to yesterday February 23, 2021. Bowes-Lyons appeared in court for sentencing after pleading guilty. He was sentenced to a minor term of ten months of incarceration and will be added to the sex offenders register but only for ten years.
This is quite a shock as Sheriff Alastair Carmichael, had testified in court of his knowledge on the case, speaking quite openly about the fact that Bowes-Lyons had gone to the woman’s room, convinced her to open the door and then forced his way into the room. He then forced the victim to the bed and the assault took place. Carmichael even addressed Bowes-Lyons saying, “Throughout all of this she made it clear she wanted you to stop. She told you repeatedly that she had a boyfriend, repeatedly told you to leave and repeatedly had to keep pushing you away from her. All of which you ignored. Once she finally managed to eject you from her bedroom you returned to the door and pleaded with you to let her back in.”
Carmichael also noted that the victim had blocked the door by shoving a chair back under the doorknob to prevent him from re-entering the room. He then informed the court that even though it had been a year since the attack the victim still has nightmares of Bowes-Lyons and has suffered since in terms of her mental and emotional health. Carmichael told the court that he didn’t feel that anything less than a prison sentence would be enough justice for the case and would send a message to other predators that they would be able to get away with such crimes.
Bowes-Lyons attorney assured the court that his client was most remorseful and his report showed that he was at medium risk to reoffend.
Last month after Bowes-Lyons pleaded guilty he released this statement. “I am greatly ashamed of actions which have caused such distress to a guest in my home.” He went on to describe how during the last year he has sought professional help and owned up to what he had done by “pleading guilty as quickly as possible.”
Although it is interesting that a royal has been sentenced to jail time, it begs the question of why the sentence is so small. Why is it that individuals can be sentenced to life in prison for theft and drug charges, but an individual, royal or not, assaults a woman and receives less than a year of incarceration?
This has been the case for several sex crime predators. Most notable was the case of Brock Turner. He was a student at Stanford University in 2015 and was a major strength on the swimming team.
One night while out partying Turner raped an unconscious and intoxicated woman, by the name of Chanel Miller, behind a dumpster in an alleyway and performed other heinous acts against her. When it came time for sentencing the focus was on his athletic ability and how he shouldn’t have his life taken away from him at such a young age.
Even though prosecution had requested a minimum six year sentence the judge only sentenced him for 6 months jail time and 3 years probation. Turner ended up serving only 3 months in jail before being released.