For the third time in as many months, we are bringing you the horrific story of a man being let off of punishment for rape of a defenseless woman because the judge considered the man’s bright future more valuable than the quality of life taken from the victim.

18-year-old Nicholas Fifield was 17 when he met an 18-year-old woman online. The young woman had been clinically diagnosed with mental issues, autism, and alcohol and drug-related birth defects as well as PTSD, depressive disorder, and a language disorder.

The woman resided in a Des Moines group home and Fifield had to obtain the permission of her parents and the group home before taking her out on a date to the movies. But rather than take her on the agreed-upon date, Fifield took the young woman to his home and sexually assaulted her against her will.

The victim indicated to police that she had told Fifield no several times. Even if she had consented, the legality of a sexual encounter between Fifield and a woman as mentally disabled as this one would have been questionable. But we don’t have to wonder because the woman tells us that she was assaulted.

And yet, the only repercussions Fifield has faced was losing out on a single tennis match (his father is the tennis coach). Now, Fifield is expected to strike a plea bargain and will likely end up with a bit of probation, no jail time served.

First it was Brock Turner, the Stanford Swimmer, let off with a light sentence. Then it was Colorado student Austin James Wilkerson who was given probation for raping a woman. When can we put a stop to this idea that just because a man has a talent or successful career that he is any less guilty of violent crimes and violations of others?

We have to acknowledge that when we do that, we are saying “your success is more valuable than her peace of mind. Your freedom is more important than her justice.”

Are we ok with that?

Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at