LINCOLN, Neb. -- A petition drive is calling for the resignation of the judge who sentenced a sex offender to probation instead of prison in part because of his short stature.
The campaign is aimed at Cheyenne County District Judge Kristine Cecava, who last week sentenced Richard W. Thompson to 10 years' intensive probation instead of prison on two felony child sexual assault charges.
Cecava said at the sentencing hearing that she did not believe Thompson, who is 5 feet 1 inches tall, could survive in prison.
Thompson, 50, could have been sentenced to 10 years behind bars.
He was accused of having sexual contact last summer with a girl who is now 14.
The petition drive is being conducted by Tiffany Jones, a resident of the county seat of Sidney, who said she already had about 700 signatures.
The judge did not return a call seeking comment yesterday.
Attorney General Jon Bruning and Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub appealed the sentence yesterday, arguing that it was too lenient.
According to a transcript of the sentencing hearing, Cecava told Thompson: ``So I'm sitting here thinking this guy has earned his way to prison, but then I look at you and I look at your physical size. I look at your basic ability to cope with people and, quite frankly, I shake to think what might happen to you in prison because I don't think you'll do well in prison."
As part of his probation, Thompson will be electronically monitored for the first four months, and was told never to be alone with anyone under age 18, or date or live with a woman whose children are under 18.