The man who has admitted raping and sexually abusing three of his daughters over a period of nine years said yesterday that he viewed his actions as "a problem," and not really a crime.
Sentenced yesterday to life in prison for rape and sexual child abuse, with all but 30 years suspended, the father was virtually alone in his assessment.
The sentencing judge called the father's actions "perverted," "vile," "cruel" and "a nightmare." The prosecuting attorney described them as "a very violent exploitation of children." Even the man's own defense attorney concluded that his client was sick and had treated his daughters "as if they were his lovers."
But the 43-year-old father would only admit that there was something wrong with him.
"I was projected as a mean, cruel, overpowering, evil figure," he told Judge Kenneth Lavon Johnson. "I would just like to say that our lives really weren't that way. I love [my daughters] tremendously and I know that it has been torture for them, but . . . it has been hell for me, too."
The crimes occurred over a nine-year period in what the man's sister described as "the most perfect family we had ever known." The rapes resulted in at least five pregnancies that were terminated by abortions. On Thursday, the mother was sentenced to 15 years in prison for her role in the crimes.
The Sun is not publishing the names of the mother or the father in order to protect the privacy of the victims.
Despite what happened, the daughters wrote Judge Johnson and asked him to show leniency toward their father, as they had done when their mother was sentenced. The daughters did not appear in court yesterday.
According to William Porter, the man's attorney, the daughters said that their father should be punished, but that a 30-year sentence was too long. One suggested five years.
"They're letting the court know what is in their hearts," Mr. Porter said. "These children didn't mean for their father to be gone out of their lives for the rest of their lives."
In his statement to Judge Johnson, the father talked about his "problem," the love he felt for his daughters and his portrayal in the media.
Since his arrest last March, the father has been held without bail in the Baltimore City Jail. He described his life now as "a situation where you have very few friends and a whole lot of enemies."
Unlike his wife, who described the family's ordeal as a test sent by God, the father made no religious references yesterday.
"I really feel there is something wrong with me because this is the way I raised my family," he said. "For me to do this to someone I love is like sticking knives in my own body."
"Judge Johnson, I believe there are thousands of people out there right now who are suffering from the same problem, who need help but are afraid to come forward," he said. "Grant me the help I need so that I can return to society and be part of [my daughters'] lives."
The man's sister testified yesterday that her family was shocked when they learned about the crimes. Her brother's children were well-behaved and the daughters had excelled in school. No one ever intimated that anything was wrong, she said.
"We thought they were the most perfect family we had ever known." she said. "Your honor, I just want to ask if you could send him someplace where he could get some help, because he's sick and he needshelp."