Calling it one of the most egregious cases of child abuse she has seen in her 24 years on the bench, a 3rd District Court judge on Monday sentenced a Kearns man to serve a mandatory nine years and up to life in prison for sexually abusing his three adopted children over a two-year period.

Saying she found the 37-year-old man had made some "incredibly bad choices" in abusing children as far back as when he himself was a child, Judge Sheila McCleve said there had to be consequences and meted out a nine-years-to-life mandatory sentence.

The man is accused of sexually abusing two boys and a girl who were between 9 and 10 years old. Investigators say the man raped, molested and assaulted the children with a screwdriver handle in his house over several years.

McCleve did give the man credit for seeking help on his own and ultimately turning himself in to police and confessing his crimes.

The Deseret News does not generally publish the names of criminal defendants accused of sexually abusing their own children to protect the identities of the victims.

The man's attorney said his client was "honest to a fault" in confessing to police and that he didn't realize the damage of his actions because he himself had been abused as a child.

The man's wife spoke in her husband's defense and begged the court to sentence the man to a five-year-to-life sentence instead. "What he did was awful and evil," she told the court, but added her husband had also done a lot of good in supporting her and their children.

McCleve stressed to two of the victims, who were in court, that whatever happens to their father, they were not to blame for it. Turning her attention to the defendant, McCleve said his actions had probably damaged not only his children for life, but the lives of their children to come.

"Every imaginable abuse was done to these children," said prosecutor Robert Neill, adding their father also threatened to have them taken away from the home if they told anyone.

McCleve said although the man will not be with his wife and children for many years to come, there was still a chance the family could be reunited in the future if the man took steps to get mental health treatment while in prison.


E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com