Two Washington, Pa., men have pleaded guilty to a crime so heinous that it calls for the harshest punishment that can be meted out to them.
On Monday in U.S. District Court in Wheeling, the men pleaded guilty to federal charges of "aiding and abetting in the transportation of an individual in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity." The men are Jose Jesus Tapia Montes, 38, and Elmer Pina Pinto, 44.
Wording in the formal charge does not begin to describe the monstrous crime committed by Montes and Pinto. According to U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld, the two men kidnapped a developmentally disabled woman in Elm Grove last July, then took her back to Pennsylvania. There, they spent four days sexually assaulting the 19-year-old. Then they returned her to Wheeling.
Montes and Pinto were apprehended quickly, thanks to the FBI, the Wheeling Police Department and the Harmony House Child Advocacy Center.
The two monsters face as long as 10 years in prison and fines as high as $250,000.
Most of the time, we do not presume to suggest to prosecutors and judges how to handle criminal cases. And sexual assault in any form merits severe punishment. But this case involves a crime so abominable that it demands a long time in prison and a hefty fine, both as punishment for what Montes and Pinto did and to deter others from similar crimes.
When the two are sentenced, the judge should send them away for the maximum prison term allowable.