CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, December 22, 2008

Man gets 13 months for molesting son

A former roving carnival worker will spend 13 months in prison for molesting his adult son, who has such severe mental and physical disabilities that he couldn't tell anyone what was happening to him.

Robert Lee Hutchinson, 41, had faced up to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of gross sexual imposition in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Neal Bronson said he gave consideration to Hutchinson's lack of a prior criminal record and that he had stepped forward to admit his guilt, as Hutchinson's lawyer, A. Aaron Aldridge, pointed out.

But Bronson said he also was concerned that "if other victims were as helpless" as this victim, it would be unlikely for anyone to know about any other possible prior offenses.

He also said he understood the sentiments of the victim's mother, who told the court that no amount of prison time would be sufficient for Hutchinson.

"I really wish (the victim) could speak out and tell you all how he feels...I just don’t feel 18 months is enough…and I don’t want to ever see Robert around Warren County again as long as I’m here," the victim's mother told Bronson.

Assistant Prosecutor John Arnold said he wished the law had allowed for more charges against Hutchinson. He had argued for the maximum sentencing, saying that evidence supported only one lower-level charge, largely because of the victim's inability to talk.

Hutchinson was charged after the victim's mother walked into a room in her Morrow home and witnessed the molestation on Sept. 14.

"We don’t have a victim that’s able to tell this court that he was harmed by this defendant on multiple occasions," Arnold said.

Further, Arnold said that Hutchinson "admitted that he got sexually turned on by looking at children" during his job as a carnival ride operator but denied ever touching children. [Mark Godsey]

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