By Hilary White

BURLINGTON, January 5, 2006 ( -Â According to a Vermont judge, serious crime should not be subject to punishment. “The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn’t solve anything. It just corrodes your soul.” So said Judge Edward Cashman who then gave a 60-day jail sentence to a man who raped a little girl repeatedly for four years starting when the girl – the child of a friend – was six and ending when she was ten.

Mark Hulett, 34, pleaded guilty in District Court in Burlington to two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, all felonies. The law allowed for him to face up to life in prison on the charges, but the judge decided that he should be let go after 60 days, since the state Corrections Department would not offer Hulett sex-offender counseling until after his release.

Only if Hulett fails to obtain counseling or otherwise follow instructions once he is freed will he face the full sentence.

The state prosecutors, along with the girl’s family were seeking the maximum sentence of 8 to 20 years in a federal prison.

“Punishment is a valid purpose,” Chittenden Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Andreson argued. “This is not only about Mr. Hulett. To sentence him to any less demeans the level of trauma he has caused. To sentence him to any less will send a disturbing message of tolerance to the community.”

“The state recognizes that the court may not agree or subscribe to that method of sentencing but the state does. The state thinks that it is a very important factor for the court to consider,” Andreson added.

After ruling that the self-confessed child rapist should be back in the community, Cashman told the family, “This is not a situation where I’m doing this for the family”

“My heart goes out to this family, and I would hate to be in the situation this family is. But there’s other families out there, and there’s other people who could be victimized, and I’m trying to take the long view,” he said.

Cashman added that a lengthy prison term “will accomplish nothing but to harden this fellow.”

The girl’s mother, however, thought that keeping her child’s rapist off the streets would accomplish something. “Mark should be taken off the street so it is not possible for her to cross his path. She will see Mark enough in her mind,” she said.

  Vermont Governor Jim Douglas
  109 State Street, Pavilion
  Montpelier, VT 05609-0101
  Phone: 802 828-3333
  (toll-free in VT only: 800 649-6825)Â
  Fax: 802 828-3339
  Online communications form at

Vermont Judicial Conduct Board
  Chairman Christopher Davis