Former CPS director sentenced to 10 years for child molestation
BY JACOB JONES
The Daily World
Saturday, June 6, 2009 1:16 AM PDT
Judge rejects recommendation of 1 year in jail and treatment
Gary E. Anderson leaned into the podium, his head lowered and the blue jail jumpsuit draping off his thin frame.
The 67-year-old former Child Protective Services director told the court he did not understand how he could spend 36 years of his life defending children, including his own, and now stand guilty of raping a 9-year-old girl and molesting another girl of the same age. (Probably because he didn’t…people don’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I will start molesting and raping children…I wonder if there are other victims out there?)
“I’ve broken a sacred trust not only with these children, but those who love them,” he said Friday. “I broke their hearts. … I am sorry for what I’ve done.”
Anderson pleaded guilty to first-degree child rape and first-degree molestation last year for “numerous” times when he touched the two girls inappropriately, according to court records. He admitted his conduct in a plea agreement recommending an alternative sentence of one year in jail as well as sex offender therapy and supervision upon release.
Superior Court Judge Mark McCauley rejected the recommended Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative on Friday, saying Anderson deserved prison despite pleas from the victims’ families to grant treatment.
“I have really struggled with this decision,” the judge said. “There was such a trust. There are multiple victims. His conduct went on for years.”
McCauley sentenced Anderson to a minimum of 10 years to life in prison with annual reviews to determine whether he can ever be released.
Anderson’s eyes dropped to the table. His supporters in the audience wept softly.
“These crimes, from my point of view, are horrific crimes,” McCauley said, noting he had given substantial prison sentences to other offenders who never even touched a child.
The judge said the victims and their families have to live with the consequences of Anderson’s actions for the rest of their lives. He said he is also concerned about any chance Anderson could re-offend, despite his age.
“I just can’t in good conscience grant a (sentencing alternative),” McCauley said.
Court records stated Anderson first acknowledged he had touched the girls inappropriately when confronted by their parents in January of 2008. He was charged with raping one girl and molesting the other.
The state Department of Social & Health Services said he worked for Child Protective Services for 36 years and retired in 2000. He supervised social workers, but rarely interacted with children.
Anderson was arrested in March of 2008 and unanswered questions about other possible victims delayed his sentencing for months.
Deputy prosecutor Katie Svoboda said everyone involved should be better off with the long case finished.
“It took a lot of work,” she said. “This is a hard case and a hard call (by the judge).”
Svoboda had joined the defense in recommending the alternative sentence with therapy, but said a prison sentence was “well-warranted.”
Defense attorney Brett Purtzer called a polygraph examiner and a psychotherapist to the stand Friday to testify about Anderson’s chances of benefiting from treatment.
“If Mr. Anderson is not an individual that qualifies for (the alternative sentence),” Purtzer argued, “then that person does not exist.”
The attorney presented several letters of support for Anderson and one of the victim’s parents asked the court to allow for treatment instead of prison.
Anderson said he had taken full responsibility and wanted the chance to understand why he had done such things. He believed the alternative sentence and treatment would give him that chance.
“This (sentencing alternative) truly is a privilege,” McCauley told him. “There’s no right to go through this treatment.”