PARIS — A 42-year-old man convicted last year of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact against a 6-year-old girl was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday.
Kurt W. Sturtevant Sr. of 21 Clifford St. in Mechanic Falls will be required to serve six years of probation, register as a lifetime sex offender and attend sex offender counseling. He also is not to have direct or indirect contact with the victim or her immediate family, and have no contact with children under the age of 16 without the permission of his probation officer and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“No matter what happens, I’ve gone all out to be the best father and person I can be,” Sturtevant told Justice Roland A. Cole in Oxford County Superior Court. “Your honor, I apologize, because I am not guilty.”
Assistant District Attorney Joe O’Connor said Sturtevant “has utterly failed to accept any responsibility or express any remorse.”
Sturtevant was indicted on the charges for incidents in 1998, 2003 and 2005. A jury found him guilty last March after a two-day trial. The girl, then 14, claimed that Sturtevant had exhibited improper sexual behavior toward her, including performing oral sex on her, touching her genitals, and slapping her buttocks.
During the trial, Sturtevant denied touching the girl, but did admit that he had once kissed her on the lips as punishment for spitting in his cereal.
“I will never feel safe as long as he knows where I am,” the girl tearfully stated at the hearing.
The girl’s mother said the girl has had trouble learning to trust people and is attending counseling.
“[She] lost her childhood because of the unspeakable things that were done to her,” she said.
O’Connor said that Sturtevant’s lack of a serious criminal record, while a mitigating factor in the sentence, did not make his claims of innocence more believable.
“It is not at all uncommon for sex offenders, child sex abusers, to be respectable citizens,” he said.
O’Connor argued that aggravating factors included Sturtevant’s decision to go to trial and the multiplicity of the crimes over a period of time. Mitigating factors included Sturtevant’s unlikelihood of reoffending based on an examination by the State Forensic Service.
Defense attorney Leonard Sharon did not make a sentencing recommendation, but suggested that Sturtevant “has manifested the life of a person who is innocent.” Sharon also argued that Sturtevant showed no traits inherent in a sex offender and had strong support from family and friends.
Five people spoke on behalf of Sturtevant at the sentencing, and 14 letters of support were included in his court file.
“Kurt is a wonderful man,” said Sturtevant’s niece Amy Cavanaugh. “He is supported by all of his friends and family.”
“From the day I met him, he has consistently shown himself as a gentle and kind man,” said the Rev. Glenn Carver of the Pleasant Street Baptist Church, which he attended.
Sturtevant also briefly spoke, breaking down in tears as he said he would not be able to see his children. He said the case “has divided and destroyed my family.”
The girl’s mother said in court that she has been harassed by members of Sturtevant’s family since the trial.
Diana Rowe, Sturtevant’s former sister-in-law, stated in a letter to the court that Sturtevant’s supporters have been harassed as well.
Cole, who presided over Sturtevant’s trial, said sexual abuse cases often divide families and communities, but that he agreed with the jury’s final decision.
“I understand some people might not accept that,” Cole said. “I understand this is a matter of some controversy in the community.”
Prior to the sentencing, Cole said he had denied a motion for a new trial. He said the sentencing may be appealed.