An elderly Princeton man will spend 33 months in jail after pleading guilty to historic child sex crimes which he claims he doesn’t remember committing.
His offences span four decades, and include two victims.
The 77-year-old, who cannot be named under a publication ban, was sentenced in Princeton circuit court last Thursday, May 13.
“Sometimes, like here, the most poisonous people come disguised,” said Judge Gregory Koturbash.
Court heard the man began abusing his first victim when she was less than 10 years old, in the late 1970s.
The now-grown woman confronted her abuser in court, describing him as a “monster” and confessing herself to once being “flooded with guilt and shame.”
A second victim was also just in elementary school when the abuse began, in about 2005.
That woman’s impact statement, read aloud by Koturbash, recounted an adolescence and young adulthood filled with panic attacks, physical stress from anxiety and depression.
“I still have trouble talking to people,” she wrote.
The guilty man, who pleaded to one count of indecent assault on a female and another count of sexual interference of a person under 14, declined to speak for himself when the offer was made from the bench. However, his lawyer Paul Varga stressed mitigating factors.
His client, he said, still does not remember committing the crimes.
He was a “black-out-drunk drinker…(who) lost large chunks of time” during the periods when the assaults took place.
The offender is himself a victim of child sex abuse, said Varga, and he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“He’s trying to not deny, but he’s admitting his own inability to completely come to terms with it.”
Varga said the offender admits he was “not a nice man, and that’s why he believes that things he was told occurred, occurred.”
His client is ill, added Varga, and suffers from numerous serious complaints.
“A period of incarceration may well be a life sentence.”
Before making his ruling, Koturbash told the offender that if not for his age and health, his sentence would have been more severe.
“What you did…is beyond words.”
Koturbash noted a pre-sentencing report and psychological evaluation indicated the man is assessed at low-risk to re-offend, and that he has also stopped drinking.
The judge then spoke directly to the victims. “The harm that you have experienced and continue to experience is beyond my imagination.”
And he applauded their fortitude.
“Your courage to come forward, I am sure, will inspire others.”
When released from prison, the offender will be prohibited for five years from attending any park or community centre where children may be present, must stay away from schools and not speak to anyone under the age of 16, except under special circumstances.
He will also be part of the national child sex offender registry, and will submit a DNA sample.
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