Man's plea deal includes vasectomy requirement

Man's plea deal includes vasectomy requirement

Posted: Updated:
Booking photo shows Jessie Lee Herald Booking photo shows Jessie Lee Herald
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man who has fathered children with several women has agreed to get a vasectomy to knock up to five years off his prison term in a child endangerment case that has evoked the country's dark history of forced sterilization.

None of the charges against Jessie Lee Herald, 27, involved a sexual offense. Shenandoah County assistant prosecutor Ilona White said her chief motive in making the extraordinarily unusual offer was keeping Herald from fathering more than the seven children he has by at least six women.

"He needs to be able to support the children he already has when he gets out," she said, adding that Herald and the state both benefit from the deal, first reported by the Northern Virginia Daily.

Though Herald willingly — if reluctantly, according to his attorney — signed on to the deal, the agreement immediately calls to mind the surgical sterilizations carried out in Virginia and dozens of other states during the 20th century under the discredited pseudoscience called eugenics, said Brandon Garrett, a University of Virginia law professor.

"This takes on the appearance of social engineering," said Steve Benjamin of Richmond, past president of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, who said he has never heard of a case like Herald's.

Some 8,000 people deemed genetically inferior or deficient were forcibly sterilized in Virginia from the 1920s to about 1970. Many other states also had eugenics programs but abandoned them after World War II when forced sterilizations became closely associated with Nazi Germany's racial purity efforts.

The movement resulted in the sterilization of tens of thousands of people, primarily the mentally disabled, minorities and the poor. North Carolina, the lone state to offer compensation to victims of its program, is allowing people until June 30 to apply for such payments.

Herald's attorney, Charles Ramsey, and White, the prosecutor, disputed any suggestion that the plea deal for Herald, who is white, has similarities to eugenics.

"I would never agree with that line of thinking. That was nowhere in my thought process," White said.

Said Ramsey, "I understand the comparison, but I don't think it's fair. That's kind of exaggerating it."

Herald, of Edinburg, was sentenced this month to one year and eight months in prison for child endangerment, hit and run , and driving on a suspended license in a crash in which authorities said his 3-year-old son was bloodied but not seriously hurt.

The agreement requires Herald to undergo the operation within a year of being released from prison and prohibits him from having the vasectomy reversed while he is on probation.

Herald will have to pay for the vasectomy, which can cost from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000. Ramsey said the reason for giving his client a year to get the surgery was to give him time to come up with the money.

Charles Herald said he believes his nephew, who has worked as a roofer and in a poultry plant, has financially supported at least some of his children. But he could not say exactly how many there are.

"I don't think even he knows," Charles Herald said.

The Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office declined a request for a telephone interview with Herald, who is in the county jail.

Ramsey said he had an ethical duty to pass along to his client the prosecutor's highly unusual plea offer.

"It was not a no-brainer for him," Ramsey said. "It was a difficult decision. I had some reservations as well, but I don't want to get too much into my opinion of it because it's not my decision."

Benjamin, who said he was speaking in general terms and not about a specific case, said a vasectomy simply should not be a factor in plea negotiations.

"Sentencing conditions are designed to prevent future criminal behavior," he said. "Fathering children is not criminal behavior."

Said Garrett: "There's a question whether certain options should even be on the table."
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Oklahoma City Police search for possibly armed suspect in NW OKC

    Oklahoma City Police search for possibly armed suspect in NW OKC

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:34:16 GMT
    Police in Oklahoma City say they're searching for a suspect who may be armed after an apparent shoplifting incident.
    Police in Oklahoma City say they're searching for a suspect who may be armed after an apparent shoplifting incident.
  • FDA warns against using caffeine powder

    FDA warns against using caffeine powder

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:14:46 GMT
    A new warning from the FDA urges you to stay away from powered caffeine. It's easy to get. It's powerful. But as we recently learned, even a small amount can be deadly. The substance responsible for killing a high schooler in Ohio can easily be bought online. And now the FDA warns everyone to avoid caffeine powder."You get overstimulated, and in the worst case scenario, it can cause your heart to stop," said Dr. Rachel Franklin, medical director of OU Physicians Family Medicine. 18-year-old L...
    A new warning from the FDA urges you to stay away from powered caffeine. It's easy to get. It's powerful. But as we recently learned, even a small amount can be deadly. The substance responsible for killing a high schooler in Ohio can easily be bought online. And now the FDA warns everyone to avoid caffeine powder."You get overstimulated, and in the worst case scenario, it can cause your heart to stop," said Dr. Rachel Franklin, medical director of OU Physicians Family Medicine. 18-year-old L...
  • Fox at Five: as Okla. heats up, some medicine may make it harder to cool off

    Fox at Five: as Okla. heats up, some medicine may make it harder to cool off

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:46 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:46:49 GMT
    With those temperatures on the rise, people taking some over the counter medications and prescription drugs may find it harder to cool down.
    With those temperatures on the rise, people taking some over the counter medications and prescription drugs may find it harder to cool down.
  • More HeadlinesMore>>

  • Arkansas clerk: "I just wasn't in the mood [to be robbed]"

    Arkansas clerk: "I just wasn't in the mood [to be robbed]"

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:34:09 GMT
    When Paul Fagin clocked in his for shift at an Arkansas gas station, he said it just wasn't the day for him to be robbed. When a suspect tried to do it, he fought back.
    When Paul Fagin clocked in his for shift at an Arkansas gas station, he said it just wasn't the day for him to be robbed. When a suspect tried to do it, he fought back.
  • Florida father says son saved alleged molester's life

    Florida father says son saved alleged molester's life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:05 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:05:03 GMT
    Raymond Frolander was found with several knots on his face and bleeding from the mouth after he allegedly sexually abused a child.Raymond Frolander was found with several knots on his face and bleeding from the mouth after he allegedly sexually abused a child.
    A Florida father who beat his 11-year-old son's alleged molester unconscious before calling 911 told a CNN affiliate that his son is a hero and that the youngster is the only reason the man is alive.
    A Florida father who beat his 11-year-old son's alleged molester unconscious before calling 911 told a CNN affiliate that his son is a hero and that the youngster is the only reason the man is alive.
  • New law makes French restaurants prove food is fresh

    New law makes French restaurants prove food is fresh

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:09 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:09:19 GMT

    A new law in France requires restaurants to post a logo advising patrons if their foods are actually home made and which ones are just heated up.The logo is a rooftop covering a sauce pan and it's supposed to designate fait mason, or homemade.

    A new law in France requires restaurants to post a logo advising patrons if their foods are actually home made and which ones are just heated up.The logo is a rooftop covering a sauce pan and it's supposed to designate fait mason, or homemade.

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.