Jail, probation given man guilty of assault
David A. LaRue pled guilty in Edgartown District Court Friday to three charges of indecent assault on a six-year-old child.
Prosecutors told the court there is evidence that the assaults took place over a period of more than seven months, beginning in January 2007.
Mr. LaRue, 59, of Tisbury, was sentenced to a total of five years in jail. But in a plea agreement intended to spare the child and her mother further harm, Judge C. Brian McDonald, a Superior Court judge who presided over District Court for that day, suspended all but 30 days of the sentence. Assistant district attorney Laura Marshard said she recommended the short jail time, at the urging of the victim's mother and only after careful consideration and in consultation with the Cape and Islands district attorney's office. She told the court other factors, including Mr. LaRue's lack of a criminal record, his remorsefulness, and his request for help from his church immediately after his arraignment.
"By pleading guilty less than 30 days after his arraignment, which is highly unusual, he spared the child and the family further court proceedings and more trauma," said Ms. Marshard, speaking of Mr. LaRue.
Judge McDonald directed a pointed message to Mr. LaRue, before accepting the plea agreement with what he said was "extreme reluctance."
"The magnitude of the damage you have caused cannot be measured yet," the judge said. "The sentence recommended to me is entirely inappropriate for your conduct."
A total of 14 other charges were dropped as part of the plea bargain, which included six years' probation with significant conditions attached.
Mr. LaRue must register as a sex offender, be evaluated and treated as a sex offender, and he must have no unsupervised visits with children under the age of 16. He must also wear a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) monitor that will track his whereabouts, and will notify authorities if he goes near the victim's home.
Violation of any of these conditions could send Mr. LaRue to jail to serve his full five-year term.
"Hopefully, this will be a sufficient deterrent," said Ms. Marshard.
The victim's mother submitted an impact statement to the court, read into the record by Ms. Marshard.
"The trauma and shock of this incident has been, and will continue to be, devastating to our family for a long time. Life is a roller coaster of extreme anger, betrayal, and sadness. Each of us requires professional help. Each of us is suffering," the victim's mother wrote in the statement.