More than 30 people attended Wednesday’s sentencing hearing in Moffat County District Court for a Craig resident a jury convicted of sexual assault against a child.
Cyril Joseph Lenahan IV, 44, of Craig, was convicted in November 2011 of one count of sexual assault on a child with a pattern of abuse, a Class 3 felony; one count of sexual assault on a child, a Class 4 felony; and one count of sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust, a Class 4 felony.
Judge Shelley Hill presided over the case. She sentenced Lenahan to 15 years to life in prison.
Before sentencing, Amber Hampton, the victim in the case, addressed the court.
“I want to thank you for helping me get to this point,” Hampton said. “Joey took away my childhood when he blindfolded me when I was 8 and did those horrible things.
“I also want to thank my husband who has helped me deal with the nightmares and the anxiety.”
Friends and family surrounded Hampton, including one of Lenahan’s daughters who testified on her behalf.
Jon Pfeifer, a Moffat County deputy district attorney, asked Hill to impose the maximum sentence allowed by state statute.
“The defendant acknowledges no culpability for the crime in spite of being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against a child,” the prosecutor said. “The fact that he shows no culpability proves a lack for this court to rehabilitate the defendant and the state asks for a maximum sentencing to send a message to the community.”
The penalties Pfeifer sought included 21 years to life in prison for the Class 3 felony conviction, and five years to life on the two Class 4 felony convictions, for a total of 31 years to life.
Pfeifer cited the defendant’s abuse of trust and the time span the assaults took place in his request for the convictions to run consecutively rather than concurrently.
“The facts of this case are extremely aggravating because the assaults began at the age of 8 and took place over periods of the victim’s development,” Pfeifer said.
Lenahan attorney Jeffery Weeden cited his client’s positive results from a pre-sentencing investigation report. The report concluded the defendant was not considered a sexually violent predator and was an appropriate candidate for a stipulated prison sentence followed by probation and community service.
Hill adjourned for about 12 minutes to think about sentencing before rendering her decision.
“This has been a tough case for everyone,” the judge said. “I realize you are not a sexual predator, that these events occurred a long time ago, and I respect your assertion that you are innocent.
“However, you stand before me a guilty man.”
Hill handed down an indeterminate sentence of 13 years to life for sexual assault on a child with a pattern of abuse, and two years to life each for sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust.
The “indeterminate” tag was added because Lenahan maintains his innocence.
Hill also ordered the last two convictions be served concurrently, but consecutively to the charge of sexual assault on a child with a pattern of abuse.
Hill’s final order calls for Lenahan to serve 15 years to life in prison.
After the hearing, Hampton, who said she was encouraged to press charges against Lenahan by her therapist in November 2010 when she was 19 or 20 years old, was relieved the case was over.
“My biggest reason for doing this is so that other women will have the courage to step forward, no matter how long it has been, and that the justice system will work for them,” she said. “The sentencing was not as important to me as the fact that 12 people found him guilty because I went through my entire life without anyone believing me.”
Pfeifer said he was relieved for the victim.
“I’m happy for Amber that the process is over and that the defendant is receiving a lengthy prison sentence,” he said. “It was not the sentence I asked for, but in many cases an indeterminate sentence is a life sentence.”
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