ROOSEVELT He wasn't in court for his sentencing hearing, but that didn't prevent Brad R. Gale from being ordered to spend at least another 10 years in prison.
Gale, 50, was sentenced in absentia Thursday in 8th District Court on four felony charges related to five years of sexual abuse against a teenage boy. The former businessman who owned an office supply and religious bookstore is already serving a 15-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina for producing pornographic images of his victim.
"I am appalled at what I have done to my victim. ... I chose pleasure over doing what was right," Gale wrote in a letter read to the court by defense attorney Herb Gillespie. "I am grateful that my abusive actions to (my victim) have come to an end, and only regret that they ever started in the first place."
Gale was arrested in July 2006 after a Utah County man contacted authorities and said Gale had offered to let him have sex with a teenage boy. Duchesne County investigators met with the man and recorded a telephone call between the informant and Gale. They then interviewed Gale, who admitted to the abuse and turned over Polaroid images he'd taken of his victim.
Gale was charged with 33 felony counts, but later pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child, and one count each of sodomy on a child and forcible sodomy. He also pleaded guilty in Utah County to forcible sexual abuse in a plea agreement with prosecutors there in a case stemming from his abuse of the same victim at a Provo home, and to a federal charge of producing child pornography.
Gillespie asked 8th District Court Judge John R. Anderson to weigh the "many, many good things about Brad Gale," against his "totally inexcusable" actions when considering what sentence to impose. Gale had served in numerous civic and church positions in Roosevelt over the years. His arrest came as such a shock to the community, Gillespie said, that it was "like a punch in the stomach."
The defense attorney asked Anderson to run a mandatory state prison sentence concurrently with Gale's federal time, noting that an evaluation of Gale conducted prior to sentencing indicated he had a low to moderate likelihood of re-offending, is a good candidate for treatment, and has strong support from his family.
The mother of Gale's victim told Anderson that her son supported a concurrent sentence for his abuser as well and has forgiven him. She said the 17-year-old boy, who is currently awaiting sentencing on criminal charges of his own, knows firsthand the environment Gale is in and does not believe more prison time is necessary.
But Duchesne County Attorney Stephen Foote pointed to the duration of the abuse and its likely influence on the victim's own legal woes in asking Anderson to hand down a 10-to-life state sentence consecutive to Gale's federal sentence.
Foote, who had dealings with the victim in juvenile court, said the teen's probation officer could never understand why the boy seemed so happy when he was locked up in detention and so despondent when released.
Officials later learned that "when he was in detention he was safe," Foote told Anderson. "When he got out he went right back into the situation that he was going through."
Foote also told the judge that in the three hours it took investigators to drive from Utah County to Roosevelt after learning of the abuse in July 2006, Gale had molested the victim again in the back room of his bookstore.
"He's damaged this young man to such an extent that he needs to be in prison," the prosecutor said.
Anderson said he regretted that Gale was not in court for him to "look at and talk to." In his letter, Gale said he waived his right to be present for sentencing to alleviate stress on his family and to save the taxpayers the cost of having to transport him from North Carolina to Utah and back.
Anderson called Gale's conduct "very egregious," adding that he'd "stolen a sense of trust" from his victim.
"No wonder (the victim) is having problems," the judge said before following the prosecutor's recommendation for a consecutive sentence. "I think it's entirely justified."
Anderson then ended the hearing by addressing Gale's wife in the gallery."I'm sorry for your loss," he said. "I appreciate you standing by this man, but it's maybe time to move on."