PROVO, Utah — Declaring him “a danger to society,” a judge on Thursday called the father of the renowned piano group The 5 Browns a pedophile and sentenced him to at least 10 years in prison on charges that he sexually abused his three daughters when they were children.
Keith S. Brown, 55, pleaded guilty in February to one felony count of sodomy of a child and two felony counts of sexual abuse of a child.
Fourth District Judge David Mortensen sentenced Brown to 10 years to life on the first count, and 15 years to life for each of the others. The sentences will run concurrently, but Brown will have to serve at least 10 years under the plea agreement.
“I do believe, sir, that you are a pedophile, and I do believe that you are a danger to society,” Mortensen said before handing down the sentence.
Brown had been free pending the sentencing but was led away by a bailiff after Thursday’s hearing to be taken to the Utah State Prison.
Brown’s three daughters Desirae, 32, Deondra, 30, and Melody, 26, and two sons make up The 5 Browns, whose albums have topped the classical music charts and who have appeared on “Oprah,” “60 Minutes” and other programs.
Keith Brown once served as manager of his children’s group, but they severed their professional relationship with him in 2008.
The Brown sisters remain estranged from their father. They reported the abuse to Lone Peak police last year after learning that their father planned to begin working with other young musicians.
The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they were sexually abused, but the Brown sisters have chosen to be identified.
Kimball Thomson, a spokesman for group, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that sisters weren’t in court Thursday because they are on tour. All three wrote letters to the judge expressing their feelings about the case, Thomson said. The letters are not public.
“The girls don’t want to make any statements about the case right now,” Thomson said.
Deputy Utah County Attorney David Sturgill on Thursday called Brown’s daughters courageous and said he was satisfied with the negotiated plea and the sentence. Sturgill has said the three charges don’t reflect the yearlong pattern of abuse suffered by Brown’s children.
“To say whether 10 years, 15, 20 years in jail or prison is enough for what he’s done, I don’t know,” Sturgill said. “Whether it’s good or bad, he has changed the course of their lives, and I don’t know if there’s any price he could possibly pay that would make up for that.”
Court documents state the allegations stem from separate events between November 1990 and March 1998 in Utah County. There are no statutes of limitation in Utah that prevent prosecutors from filing such sex crime charges.
After the hearing, defense attorney Steven Shapiro said Brown is remorseful and had expressed his apologies to the court, his family and the community in a letter to the judge rather than speaking in open court.
“I think every step that he has taken in this process has been geared towards taking responsibility for what he’s done,” Shapiro said.
That the judge called Brown a pedophile “probably fits with the statutory definition of what that is,” he said.
Brown chose to enter the plea to bring a quick resolution to the case and did not want to “exacerbate the harm” by dragging out the proceedings, Shapiro has said.
Three days after prosecutors filed the charges, a car Brown was driving plunged 300 feet over a cliff in Salt Lake City’s Little Cottonwood Canyon. Brown and Lisa Brown, 54, the mother of the group members, were hospitalized after the Valentine’s Day crash that left the Porsche mangled and unrecognizable.
The crash was deemed an accident by Salt Lake County sheriff’s investigators, who said Brown was driving too fast for the winding two-lane canyon road.