ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Lamoine man has been sentenced to serve 12 years behind bars for sexually assaulting his daughter over a seven-year period.
Kevin J. Cobb, 49, was sentenced Monday morning in Hancock County Superior Court by Justice William Anderson. Anderson gave Cobb an overall sentence of 22 years with all but 12 years suspended and, after he is released, a probation term of 10 years.
Anderson gave Cobb consecutive sentences on separate charges. The first sentence is for 16 years with all but 12 years suspended and a probation term of six years. The second sentence was for six years, all suspended, with four years of probation.
Cobb was convicted by a jury last June of multiple counts of gross sexual assault. According to court testimony, he began inducing his daughter to give him oral sex in 2000, when she was 10 years old. He also was accused of giving her Valium and, in more recent years, of trying to have intercourse with her in Calais and in Orono. The pattern of sexual assaults continued until 2006.
According to testimony given during the trial, Cobb told his daughter that a doctor had told him the activity would relax his back, which had been injured in a car accident. The daughter went along with it until her mother read about the activity in her daughter’s diary and reported it to police.
Cobb, wearing blue inmate’s clothing, wept at the defense table as his daughter, now 19, read a long statement at his sentencing.
“Why do you consider yourself an angel sent from heaven when you belong in hell?” the daughter asked, looking up from her notes to look across the courtroom directly at Cobb.
“I hate you. You did something very, very wrong. You victimized your own daughter. You are no longer my father.”
Cobb also read a statement at his sentencing, tearfully apologizing to his daughter but, even after he was pressed by the judge to clarify his comments, stopping short of admitting actual guilt.
“I am very sorry to have caused any hardship in your life,” Cobb said, wearing glasses and reading from a yellow legal pad. “Please find forgiveness in your heart, if not for me then for you.”
Other people also read statements at the sentencing. Relatives of the victim, including her mother and grandfather, condemned Cobb and praised the daughter for having the courage to confront her father. Friends of Cobb, including his fiancee and his sisters, portrayed him as a loving family man who would do anything to help his relatives or neighbors. About 30 people attended the sentencing, many of them members of an extended family that has been sharply divided over the case, according to officials involved in the trial.
The judge said before he announced the sentence that the descriptions of Cobb were so different that they might as well have been about two people. But a tape of a phone conversation between Cobb and his daughter, which Maine State Police recorded in early 2007 while investigating the case, was “compelling evidence” of Cobb’s guilt, the judge said.
“There is no remorse I can detect [from Cobb],” Anderson said.
Before Cobb was sentenced, his defense attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, had requested Anderson to grant Cobb a new trial. Silverstein said the jury reached a verdict too soon after listening to the phone call recording, indicating that jurors did not individually weigh each count against Cobb as they had been instructed to do by the court. Also, the recording did not accurately represent what Cobb heard during the phone call, when he was standing on a Florida beach and was distracted by incoming calls and activity going on around him on the beach, Silverstein said.
The judge denied the request.
Silverstein, who did not represent Cobb at the time of the trial, said after the sentencing that his client has steadfastly denied the charges through the duration of the case. Silverstein said he believes his client will file an appeal.
Mary Kellett, the prosecutor in the case, said later Monday that she believes the sentence is appropriate. The judge recognized that Cobb is a threat to society and needs to be either incarcerated or closely supervised for a long time, she said.
Kellett said the strongest piece of evidence in the case was the phone call recording, which was made by state police when the daughter called her father to confront him about what had been going on. During the conversation, Cobb never denied having sex with his daughter, even after she demanded to know who supposedly had given him medical advice to have sex with her.
“He never denied it [during the phone conversation],” Kellett said.
Standing on the courthouse steps after the sentencing, the daughter told reporters she intended her statement to her father to be the last thing she ever says to him.
“I was really excited for today, to be able to say my piece and stand up to him,” she said. “I don’t want to be a stereotypical rape victim. I’m ready to close a door and start a new chapter in my life.”