(Update) – A St. Joseph man has been sentenced to serve 15 years for sexually assaulting the six-year-old daughter of his close friend.
Circuit Judge Randall Jackson told Gary Robinson that he had not changed his ways, as asserted by his lawyer, but had transferfed his criminal conduct to preying on innocent children who trusted him.
“You betrayed that trust. without regard to the harm, the possible permanent harm you caused to them,” Jackson said during sentencing Thursday.
Robinson entered an Alford plea to one count of child molestation, saying he believed the state’s evidence would lead to a guilty verdict. When speaking of the June, 2016 incident to his probation officer, he emphatically and unequivocally denied sexually assaulting the victim. But during his plea hearing in March, when asked by the judge, Robinson said it’s very possible he did commit the crime, but doesn’t recall, because he was too drunk.
“That is the version that I believe,” Judge Jackson said. “It is no defense when you voluntarily become drunk.”
Robinson has what the judge called a “lengthy criminal past,” including ten to 14 felony offenses mostly property crimes. But Judge Jackson told Robinson that he had not changed his ways, but instead had transferred his criminal conduct to preying on young, helpless children who were around him and who trusted him.
During the hearing Thursday, prosecutor Kate Schaefer questioned two people, the grandmother of the six-year-old, and a teenage girl. Both were visibly upset. The grandmother said the incident has dramatically changed the six-year-old, that she used to love everybody, including the defendant, but now she cannot tolerate being left alone for any reason, and lashes out when it happens. She said the youngster is a different person now, and is undergoing extensive counseling.
The grandmother testified that their family were close friends with Robinson and his wife. She said they often spent time at the defendant’s house. That’s where the crime took place.
A teenage girl also took the witness stand, stating that she too was sexually abused by the defendant at his home when she was 14 years old. She, too, has undergone counseling, which she said didn’t help. She testified that she is angry all the time. She said she finally told her mother about the incident a couple of years later. That incident did not result in any criminal charges or convictions, because it didn’t come to light until Robinson was jailed for the other sex crime.
Prosecutor Schaefer said that there are numerous other sex crimes in his past that have never landed him in court, but the judge did not allow that information to be introduced solely on hearsay evidence. Schaefer argued that the pre-sentence report makes it clear that Robinson is a sexual predator, and that he has been preying on children for many years. She asked for a 15-year prison sentence.
“This man likes to abuse children,” Schaefer told the judge. “It’s time he goes to prison. It’s time he’s stopped.”