Nearly 13,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the impeachment of a Montana judge who sentenced a 40-year-old man who admitted to raping his 12-year-old daughter to 60 days in jail, PEOPLE confirms.
Judge John C. McKeon’s sentence was handed down on Oct. 4, according to the Glasgow Courier. The defendant — a resident of Glasgow, Montana, whom PEOPLE has decided not to name to protect the anonymity of his daughter — faced a maximum of 25 years in prison.
The father will have to register as a sex offender and will be on probation for the next 30 years after admitting in court to raping his daughter once. Two other rape charges against him were dismissed as part of a plea deal, the Courier reports.
At the Oct. 4 sentencing, McKeon said he was moved by the many letters of support he received from the confessed rapist’s relatives and friends, as well as members of the church the defendant attends, reports KTVQ.
When contacted by PEOPLE, prosecutor Dylan Jensen refused to comment on McKeon’s sentence. He told the Courier he “was shocked and disappointed” but would “respect” it.
The online petition seeking McKeon’s impeachment had 12,750 signatures as of Monday afternoon. The petition states “it is time to start punishing the judges who let these monsters walk our streets.”
Before handing down his sentence, McKeon characterized the conditions the man would eventually face upon his release as “quite restrictive” and “quite rigorous,” according to KWWL.
McKeon did not respond to PEOPLE’s calls seeking comment.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
In a written response to the public outcry following the sentencing, McKeon released a statement citing a psycho-sexual evaluation that was completed on the man, according to the Billings Gazette.
According to McKeon’s statement, the psycho-sexual evaluation found that “the defendant could be safely treated and supervised as a sex offender in the community, that such community treatment was available, that the defendant would benefit from such community-based treatment and that it would be best that he start and complete the same treatment program.”
McKeon writes that “both the plea agreement and the pre-sentence investigation report contain detailed recommendations” to assure the defendant won’t reoffend. McKeon cites “compliance with the community-based sex offender treatment, regular contact with a probation officer and polygraph testing, approval of treatment providers and his probation officer prior to contact with victim or anyone under 18 years of age, no access to materials of sexual nature, limited access to computers and Internet, written approval of residence and before departure from an assigned district and open inspection of residence.”
PEOPLE was unable to reach the defendant’s family or Glasgow’s police chief.