PARIS – A man who pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday in Oxford County Superior Court to one year in prison.

Clark Kenneth Gadway, 46, of 896 Edes Falls Road in Harrison, also was placed on probation for six years, must register as a sex offender, refrain from using drugs or alcohol, and have no contact with children under the age of 16, with the exception of supervised visits with his two daughters.

Gadway was charged Nov. 4, 2006, by Maine State Police with having sex with the girl on Oct. 1, 2005, and Aug. 4, 2006. Police were alerted to the case after the girl’s mother grew concerned about messages her daughter was sending on a computer. In an interview with police, the girl said she had started a sexual relationship with Gadway, according to court documents.

Gadway pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual assault in May, but sentencing was deferred until he received a mental exam. The state had originally asked that Gadway serve 18 months in prison, and Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne stood by this recommendation after reviewing the results of the examination.

“Frankly, the first thing that came to my mind is, he just doesn’t get it,” Beauchesne said.

Beauchesne said Gadway was blaming the girl and her family for his crime. He read excerpts from the evaluation results, including a section where Gadway was asked what he thought the impact of the relationship would be.

“She is much better off now,” was Gadway’s recorded answer, “for she knows that she can be loved for who she is.”

While Beauchesne acknowledged that the relationship began at the request of the girl, he said Gadway should have known better than to pursue it.

“He was the adult in this relationship,” Beauchesne said. “He was the one who had the obligation to say no, and he didn’t.”

Defense attorney John Jenness Jr. said Gadway took responsibility for the crime from the beginning and started counseling shortly after his arraignment.

“He has recognized that he has caused pain,” Jenness said. “He’s trying to address that.”

Jenness argued that an 18-month sentence would not be beneficial to Gadway, and recommended a 90-day sentence in the county jail.

“He certainly understands fully the impact of his actions,” said Gadway’s wife, Kimberly. She said she initially wanted to file for divorce from Gadway, but has since decided to stay with him and repair the marriage.

Gadway addressed the court with an apology to the victim, her family, his own family, and the community at large.

“I never wanted to hurt anybody,” he said. “I don’t blame anybody if they hate me. I hate myself for what I’ve done.”

Justice Robert E. Crowley said that despite the consensual nature of the relationship, the girl’s age was the main issue of the offense.

“Any adult knows that sex with a 12-year-old … is catastrophically wrong,” Crowley said.

He said the evaluation showed Gadway to be a low risk for becoming a repeat offender. He said that while some statements in the evaluation showed Gadway assuming responsibility for his actions, others showed his “obliviousness” to the situation.

The girl’s family members, speaking after the sentencing, expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment.

“The sentence didn’t fit the crime,” said the girl’s grandmother. “It has changed all of our lives forever.”

The family said the testimonies did not offer a true profile of Gadway, and claimed that he had “brainwashed” and manipulated the girl into believing that her family did not care about her.

“He took advantage of her not having a full-time positive father figure in her life, to pull her into confidence and then turn what was supposed to be a good and loving and helpful thing into something horrible and sick,” the mother stated.

The mother had requested in the letter that Gadway serve five years in prison and 10 years of probation.

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