This story was incredibly hard to write, and its content is disturbing. I believe such stories need to be told for change to occur. I can’t write about anti-choice bills, Rush Limbaugh, the NRA… then ignore the story of a baby who was raped and murdered. Well, I can – but I won’t.
A mother, Jessica Lynn Howell, 24, is now in jail for allegedly turning over her four-month old baby, to sex offender, Jordan Lafayette Prince, 25. The man sexually assaulted, beat, strangled and ultimately murdered the infant, named Ashlynn.
Prince is charged and awaiting trial for 1st degree murder, forcible sodomy and child abuse. Howell is charged with child abuse/endangerment and second-degree murder. In the police file, Howell reportedly suggested a willingness to allow Prince to have sexual relations with her four-month-old baby. She also knew Prince had a history of pedophilia and child abuse. She was present in the home during the murder. Both are held under $1 million dollar bonds.
The atrocious crime of baby rape is happening around the world. In 2007, Oprah Winfrey exposed the shockingly high numbers of babies raped in Africa. In some cases, men with HIV believed if they raped a virgin, they would be saved from AIDS. So they would seek out the youngest virgins possible.
Here in the States, an Ohio man was recently in the news for the murder of a six-month old baby, after raping her. He pleaded innocent to the murder charge; saying he only intended to rape her, not kill her. I was stunned to find a plethora of similar stories about the rapes/murders of babies and toddlers. I am taken aback with anger and sadness.
It’s important for media to expose these stories, as emotionally painful as they are to write about, and read. We cannot close our eyes, or cover our ears, anymore, because, ‘It’s too much’ – ‘We can’t handle it.’ The discussion must happen, if we are ever going to find reasons these crimes are committed, and overwhelmingly by men. Where is our culture going wrong? Why are men committing such crimes? They were innocent children at one point – when and how did they snap, and cross over to becoming inhumane, monsters?
There is no punishment strong enough for these people. It’s unimaginable to me, how anyone could do such a thing to any human, much less a baby. Tears filled my eyes as I wrote about this. I first heard about the story from my friend and writing colleague, Abby Miller who wrote about it last week.
There are groups addressing these issues today. One is Unite Against Rape or visit the UniteWomen.org Facebook Page. Another organization you can visit/support is: Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA)