Man sentenced to 15 years for sex offenses against 13-year-old girl
September 20, 2010
A 26-year-old Gardnerville man was sentenced Monday to 15 years in Nevada State Prison for the attempted sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl who had been placed in his wife’s temporary custody.
Donald Weber wept through the 90-minute hearing which included testimony from Weber’s wife and the girl’s grandfather.
The victim, now 14, is living in Colorado, and did not attend the sentencing.
“There are no right words, no apology big enough to express how I really feel,” Weber said. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart to the victim and my family. I ask the Lord every day to let her (the victim) be very successful in her life. I let her down and I wish every day it had never happened. I wish I could take it back.”
Weber denied having sex with the girl, but admitted “being lewd with her.”
The incidents reportedly took place from April 2009 to January when Weber was arrested. He has remained in Douglas County Jail.
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District Judge Michael Gibbons said a series of events conspired against the child.
He said before the child was placed with the Webers, she had been living with her biological father in Carson City.
“There was domestic battery, drug abuse, her mother left her and her father didn’t put her as his first priority,” Gibbons said. “She (the child) contacted the Carson City Sheriff’s Office for help.”
Her father signed a six-month temporary custody arrangement with Weber’s wife whom he knew, which was approved by Child and Family Services.
However, there was no follow-up by the state and the custody expired after six months, but the girl remained with the Webers.
“After six months, she had no legal guardian at the time of this crime,” Gibbons said. “Then there’s this horrible situation that happens.”
After Weber was arrested, the victim was placed temporarily at Austin’s House before she went back to live with her father, and now lives with other relatives in Colorado.
Weber’s wife testified that she lost custody of the girl, her marriage and “everything in this community that took five years to build up” over her husband’s action.
“I’m not so much worried for myself as for what I cannot accept, that there were children involved. (The victim) endured a horrible thing. Her ability to be a carefree child is gone. It was taken away from her by Donnie.”
The woman also said since Weber was jailed, she gave birth to their daughter. On Tuesday, she appears before Gibbons in divorce and custody proceedings.
‘He (Weber) is not the broken-hearted man he appears to be,” she said. “Not until he admitted his guilt did he cry. Do not let this man get away with a small punishment compared to the punishment he has given her.”
The victim’s grandfather said her grades are dropping and she was starting to get in trouble in school.
“Nobody wants to hear what I’d like to see being done to him (Weber),” the man said. “I’m not asking for any mercy.”
Weber, who was ineligible for probation, faced up to 20 years in prison .
Gibbons said a psychosexual evaluation of Weber indicated he was not a pedophile or at high risk to reoffend. Weber has no prior criminal record.
“The crime was egregious. It happened on multiple occasions and increased intensity,” Gibbons said. “The court believes it will have a lifelong effect on the child.”
Gibbons said Weber turned himself in and cooperated with investigators.
“While there was no physical force, he used psychological coercion,” Gibbons said.
By his crime, Weber committed “the most appalling, egregious breach of trust at a time when he was called upon to help a child in great need of help,” Gibbons said.
The judge expressed hope that the victim will receive the necessary help to rise above “odds already stacked against her.”
The fact that Weber is required to have lifetime supervision by Parole and Probation and register as a sex offender will reduce the likelihood of additional criminal behavior, Gibbons said.
He told Weber he would be eligible for parole in four years, but said it was unlikely because of the nature of the offense.