Coquille, Ore. -- (The World) A Coquille man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl this summer.
In a hearing Monday morning, Judge Richard Barron sentenced Richard J. Sanderlin to 300 months in prison for first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse.
Under Measure 11 sentencing guidelines, he won't be eligible for parole, sentence alternatives or reductions for good behavior.
Sanderlin was convicted March 5 after a bench trial, having waived his right to a jury during a much-delayed pre-trial process.
“The incident occurred at some date prior to the end of July,” said Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier. “The little girl told her dad what happened, and he confronted (Sanderlin) about it.”
Sanderlin admitted the abuse to the girl’s father.
Eventually, Frasier said, Sanderlin became depressed, and contacted Coos County Mental Health. The mental health department, in turn, referred him to Bay Area Hospital.
Both medical providers were alarmed by Sanderlin’s admissions that he had molested the girl, and, under state law, were required to report the abuse.
Coos County sheriff’s deputies later arrested Sanderlin at the hospital.
Sanderlin’s attorney, Ron Cox, had asked Barron to take Sanderlin’s health under consideration prior to sentencing, saying that a stroke prior to the assault had altered his judgment.
Sanderlin’s son also said the stroke had worsened his father’s judgment.
“It wasn’t clear to us how bad it was,” he said.
Barron told Cox that even if he was inclined to take Sanderlin’s mental capacity into account — a defense that hadn’t been enough to prevent his conviction — his hands were tied by state law.
“A law has been passed that under these circumstances, the sentence is 25 years,” Barron said.
The judge acknowledged that the sentence will likely be a death sentence for 53-year-old Sanderlin, who shuffled slowly as he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
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