A La Plata County man found guilty of sexual assault on a child was sentenced Thursday to two years probation and 90 days in jail.
The man, who was a juvenile at the time of the incident, exposed himself to a younger child and made the child perform sexual acts on him, according to testimony during a four-day trial in October.
The Durango Herald is not naming the man because he was a juvenile at the time of the offense.
The incident occurred about nine years ago, when the victim was 6 and the defendant was 13.
The assaults continued over the course of a couple of years. The victim reported the crimes when she was 15 years old.
At the time of the allegations, the man was an adult in basic training for the military. He later admitted to committing the assaults in an interview with investigators.
On Thursday, the victim addressed the court in a prepared statement, asking for the maximum sentence of two years of probation and six months jail to be imposed.
“I was too young to understand this was a bad thing,” she said in a letter. “For a while, I gave up on school, friends, relationships and myself. My whole life is fear and has been since I was 6 years old.”
Ingrid Alt, the man’s defense lawyer, said sentencing him to jail would be counterproductive to his recovery.
“You are assessing the culpability of a child who was 13 years old at the time,” she said. “The courts should be geared toward rehabilitation.”
Sixth Judicial District Judge William Herringer called the case “complex.”
“This was repeated contact that happened over and over again,” he said. “But the needs for intervention are much different now.”
Herringer told the man it is not too late to turn his life around.
“You’ve shown success in your life, and from what I’ve seen with people like you is that they turn it around to be successful and productive.”
The defendant was ordered to report to the La Plata County Jail on Monday and will be credited with 35 days for pretrial confinement. He will also be required to complete sex offender treatment.