HOULTON, Maine — A repeat sex offender who molested two children approximately two years ago will spend the next five years in prison for his crimes.
Gary L. Sanders, 59, of Linneus was sentenced on Friday in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton by Justice E. Allen Hunter on two charges of unlawful sexual contact. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but five years suspended on the first charge, in concert with three years of probation. He was given a 10-year sentence, all suspended, on the second charge, along with three years of probation that will run consecutive with the first probation sentence.
If Sanders violates probation after he gets out of prison, he risks returning to serve a portion or all of the suspended time.
He cannot have any contact with the victims, who are both under the age of 12, and must undergo sex offender counseling. He also was ordered to register as a lifetime sex offender, but Sanders is already on the registry for crimes committed in the 1990s. He also can’t have contact with anyone under age 18.
When state police Sgt. Josh Haines questioned him, Sanders admitted to the crimes, according to court documents.
He was convicted on six counts of unlawful sexual contact in the 1990s against one victim and was sentenced to four years in prison with all but 60 days suspended, along with probation and a fine.
Assistant District Attorney Kurt Kafferlin said that Sanders violated a trust put in him.
“The children are of the age where they are going to remember what happened to them,” he told Hunter. He added that one victim is still having a difficult time articulating what happened to her, and that when another is hugged, she curls herself inward into a cocoon.
“The victim impact is incalculable,” said Kafferlin. “It is the hope of everyone in the judicial system that there will be no more victims.”
Sanders’ attorney, Jeff Pickering of Houlton, argued for a lesser sentence. He said that his client admitted to what he did right away and knew that he needed help. He said that he did not get anything out of the sex offender counseling he got in the ’90s.
Kafferlin argued that Sanders has not taken responsibility for his actions.
“He has accepted his conviction but he has not accepted responsibility,” the prosecutor said.
Hunter noted that there was significant victim impact and that Sanders was in denial about his crimes or minimized his behavior to psychologists and others.
“There is no true indication of acceptance of responsibility,” said Hunter.
He said that the only things that worked in Sanders’ favor were that he spared his victims a trial and also spared the state the expense of such proceedings.
Sanders did not address the court, nor did his victims.
Pickering asked to delay Sanders’ sentence for a week so that he can visit a doctor to deal with heart problems. Hunter denied the request, noting that Maine’s jail system is equipped to deal with such issues.