JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – The Jeffersonville teen convicted of molesting 20 young girls in Clark County was been sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Clark County Judge Andrew Adams handed down the sentence Friday morning as parents of the young victims cried quietly inside the Clark County courtroom.
Of the 120 year sentence, Judge Adams ordered 100 years be served in prison and 20 years be suspended.
Begin pleaded guilty to 20 counts of level 4 felony child molestation in January with the understanding that he could face between two and 120 years behind bars.
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Coming out of the courtroom Friday, Katie Dixon said the sentence handed down to Begin was justice served for her daughter.
“Very happy that we’ll never have to worry about seeing him anywhere, that our daughter will never have to worry about seeing him anywhere,” Dixon said.
Inside the courtroom, she and some of the other mothers of Begin’s victims read victim impact statements to the judge. In that statement, she thanked the first young girl, Begin’s first victim, for coming forward and shedding light on the molestation that had occurred at the Clark County YMCA and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Jeffersonville.
Dixon said it was helpful to tell the judge about the pain Begin’s actions had caused her family but also incredibly painful to relive.
“It was therapeutic and very emotional to hear other parents that had to go through the same thing and to share our own story,” Dixon said.
Other victims read their statements to the judge, sharing powerful words about how Begin’s molestation of their young daughters.
One mother saying, “I thank God this monster is behind bars,” adding that “he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Jennifer Culotta, Begin’s attorney, said following the sentencing hearing that she intended to appeal the sentence. She had asked for a term of four to six years per count of child molestation for a total served of 40 to 60 years in prison.
“We disagree with several of the aggravating factors," Culotta said. “We don’t think they are statutorily correct and or correct in the law. So there will be an appeal as to the sentence.”
Culotta said all of the families involved are ready to start the healing process and Begin is taking responsibility for what happened.
"He’s very sorry for all of his actions, he’s had a very tough time with this and has wanted to move forward with this,” Culotta said.
Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said hearing all the stories from the victims was heart-wrenching. He said this length of a sentence is appropriate for the crimes committed and ensures that the 20 young girls he molested, and any others he could have encountered in the future, won’t be at risk from him again.
“Because of the way he went about this, because of the number of victims, I had a strong fear and the family members had strong fears that he was going to molest again if he got out," Mull said. “So what we were after was a long sentence that was going to ensure that he didn’t get out and molest a girl again and with 100 years, I think people are safe.”
Mull added he’s never prosecuted a case like this, where someone was accused of molesting so many victims.