Man sentenced to four years for sex assault

Judge: Sex offender should have right to treatment in prison

Posted: Thursday, July 07, 2005

A 20-year-old man sentenced Wednesday to serve four years in prison for molesting a 7-year-old girl should get sex-offender treatment before he gets out, a Juneau judge said.

"I believe the constitution of the state of Alaska provides you the right to it," Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks told Ted J. Peden after ordering the specialized treatment both in prison and after the defendant's release.

Before Weeks issued the sentence, Assistant District Attorney Jack Schmidt said it was unknown if Peden would be able to get treatment while behind bars.

The Alaska Department of Corrections hasn't offered its prison-based sex-offender treatment program since July 2003. Deputy Commissioner Portia Parker said in February that sex offenders are provided with in-community treatment as part of their probation and parole.

Weeks also told Peden that if he doesn't get the treatment, he might have some recourse under the law, which could affect his sentence.

Peden agreed in February to plead guilty to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. About a year ago, a grand jury indicted him on 29 counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of solicitation to commit first-degree sexual assault of a minor. The incidents were alleged to have occurred between August 2003 and February 2004.

The sentence provides for two years to be served and another three years suspended on each offense. Weeks also placed Peden on probation for six years after his release. State law will require him to register as a sex offender.

Each offense carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

In court Wednesday, Schmidt argued that five years would be appropriate and would still fall within the range of sentences for people in similar circumstances in Alaska.

"The defendant preyed on a young child for sexual gratification," he said.

Schmidt said the victim of the "repeated sexual contact" suffered a serious traumatic event and her entire family has been affected by the crime. Discipline problems at school led to the allegations, he said.

Peden's attorney, Julie Willoughby, argued that Peden has been working to change. She called Joe Parrish, director and founder of the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, to testify about Peden's association with his nonprofit organization.

Peden, Parrish said, was in SAGA's program from April to December 2004, as a member of a team building a house from the ground up. "Ted was ready to make a change in his life," he said. Peden also passed his GED tests and left as the "heart and soul" of his team.

Peden told Weeks he doesn't want people to judge him for his crimes the rest of his life.

"What I am being sentenced for today is not who I am," he said. "I'm really deeply sorry for what I've done."

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