FAIRBANKS - Describing the offenses as "among the worst I've ever seen," a Superior Court judge sentenced an Alaska man to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing four children under the age of 13.
Raymond E. Leahy, 54, of Nenana pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor in an agreement with prosecutors. Besides the prison time, he will be on probation for 10 years after his release. During that time, he must register as a sex offender.
Prosecutor Jenel Domke said the abuse occurred over several years and surfaced in May 2008, when one of the children notified the Office of Children's Services.
Leahy forced the children to abuse each other and sometimes had one child videotape him having sex with another, Domke said. Authorities think Leahy erased the videotapes when he grew suspicious that an investigation was under way.
Leahy was an acquaintance of the children, including one who is developmentally challenged.
"This particular set of offenses is among the worst I've ever seen," said Superior Court Judge Mark Wood, who spent three years prosecuting sex crimes in the 1980s. "I can't express the wrongness of the offense in harsh enough words. This is just terrible conduct."
Leahy, who has prior felony convictions for cocaine possession, embezzlement and drunken driving, initially claimed the charges resulted from him teaching two victims to shave their bikini lines, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
At this week's sentencing, Leahy said he hoped the victims would eventually forgive him.
"I already lost everything that's important to me," he said.
None of the children attended the sentencing in person, though the eldest appeared at the hearing via telephone. The victim had one question: "Why did he do this?"
Said Domke: "It's clear from just reading their letters that these children will need substantial therapy for a substantial period of time to understand what happened to them."