COLUMBIA — A Hartsburg teenager looked directly at her father as she told him in a Boone County courtroom Tuesday that he’d lost his right to be a father because of the crimes he'd committed against her.
“You will never have the chance to hurt anyone again,” she said, reading the victim impact statement she’d prepared for her father’s sentencing. “Monsters need to be caged so they can’t hurt anyone, and your cage is prison.”
The girl’s father, who has four other children, was sentenced to life in prison plus 79 years by Circuit Judge Kevin Crane. The Missourian has withheld the name of the man to protect the identities of the victims.
After a jury trial, he was found guilty on July 21 of one count each of forcible rape, first-degree statutory rape, first-degree statutory sodomy, first-degree child molestation and incest.
During the hearing, defense attorney Kay Evans said she thought a sentence that would last the rest of her client’s life was “unnecessary,” and she cited his clean record and emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his father as mitigating factors. She told the court that her client had apologized for any pain or hurt he’d caused his family.
Crane’s sentence reflected the recommendation of Assistant Boone County Prosecutor Tracy Gonzalez. She said evidence presented in the July trial demonstrated that the man had sexually abused his oldest daughter for 10 years. Evidence showed that he abused the daughter who read the victim impact statement at Tuesday’s sentencing when she was younger than 12.
“There was sexual abuse in the family for at least 10 years, and the family has suffered as a result of these actions,” Gonzalez said.
The daughter who appeared in court said her father’s sexual abuse caused her to struggle with her identity and undermined her feelings of safety. She said that she still can’t sleep at night without closing and locking her bedroom door.
But because of her mother, she said, “we will make it and we will be OK. I know that I am going to be OK.
“I will choose not to live as a victim from now on,” she said.