Savage man pleads guilty to sex abuse of daughters 78 days in prison, probation ordered

January 19, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Savage man pleaded guilty yesterday to charges that h repeatedly sexually abused his two adopted daughters during a 14-year period that ended five years ago.

The 45-year-old man, a former minister, pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse and second-degree rape before Judge James Dudley in Howard Circuit Court.

The incidents involving the girls, now 23 and 24 years old, occurred while the family lived in Mount Airy, Edgemere and on the Eastern Shore of Virginia from 1974 to 1988, court records say.

The man was accused of forcing one of the girls to have intercourse and perform a sex act with him, and fondling the other.

"I am extremely sorry," the man told Judge Dudley. "I wish to do whatever it takes to get help."

To protect the identity of the victims, the man's name is not being printed.

The defendant's wife and pastor, as well as the victims, attended yesterday's proceedings.

Judge Dudley sentenced the man to 20 years in prison but suspended all but 78 days of the term. He will be permitted to serve the sentence on weekends during a six-month period.

He was ordered to receive counseling and to avoid contact with minors, except for his three sons. The defendant also must complete five years of probation.

Judge Dudley warned the man that if he does not meet the terms of his probation, he will have to serve the remainder of the 20-year sentence in prison.

"Otherwise, you will be wearing prison garb and serving a very long sentence," Judge Dudley said. "There is no renegotiation. It is 20 years. That's it."

The plea agreement worked out between the man's attorney and prosecutors originally called for no incarceration, but Judge Dudley rejected those terms.

"That's not acceptable," Judge Dudley said. "There has to be some penalty involved."

The judge explained during the sentencing that he decided to include prison time in the sentence to deter others from committing crime, particularly child abuse.

The man was indicted on 37 charges, including first-degree rape, in October. Had he been convicted on all of them, he would have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The defendant was arrested after one of the victims, who was receiving counseling because of her traumatic childhood, reported the incidents to police, records show.

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