An 84-year-old northwest Carroll man, convicted in November of molesting eight children over a 33-year period, was sentenced to 18 months in the Carroll County Detention Center on Wednesday.
Citing the man's age and ill health, Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold sentenced him to eight consecutive five-year terms for the crimes, but suspended all but 18 months of the term, as had been promised in a plea agreement between prosecutors and the man last fall.
Forty years "is the minimum you would have received from the court for these crimes if it had not been, frankly, for your age," Judge Arnold said Wednesday to the man, who is not being named to protect the privacy of his victims. Most are his granddaughters and great-granddaughters.
"They say this type of thing [jail time] tears a family apart, but I don't think this result should be unexpected."
The man, who pleaded guilty to the charges Nov. 20, maintained his innocence regarding some of the charges Wednesday. He has admitted having intercourse with his granddaughter when she was 17, but blames his victims for his remaining crimes of fondling.
"A lot of these sayings are untrue," he said, adding that he pleaded guilty to save the victims from testifying. "I feel sorry for anything I caused them to go through. But it hurts me worse, coming here today."
Court officials said the man, who cannot dress himself after suffering a stroke, repeatedly asked when he was going home as he was being led to the jail Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, family members tearfully clung to each other in the hallway after the man was sentenced.
All declined to speak to reporters.
According to court records, the man molested his first victim from about 1962 to 1971. The most recent victim, a relative now 13 years old, was first abused in 1990.