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Hernando man gets life sentence for sex crimes against two girls

Peter John Prahasky, 67, looks around the courtroom after being sentenced to prison Thursday in Hernando County Court. Judge Daniel Merritt Jr. said to Prahasky that he had never witnessed such an “abject failure to accept responsibility.”

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Peter John Prahasky, 67, looks around the courtroom after being sentenced to prison Thursday in Hernando County Court. Judge Daniel Merritt Jr. said to Prahasky that he had never witnessed such an “abject failure to accept responsibility.”

BROOKSVILLE — Peter John Prahasky showed no emotion as Judge Daniel Merritt Jr. was about to announce his sentence Thursday in Hernando County Circuit Court.

Nonetheless, Merritt looked sternly at the 67-year-old defendant and told him that during his time on the bench, he had never witnessed an "abject failure to accept responsibility" like he had with Prahasky.

Merritt then sentenced Prahasky to life in prison.

Prahasky had been convicted in December of committing sexual crimes against a 9-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl in 2010. A jury found Prahasky guilty of two counts of capital sexual battery and molestation of a minor, one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of 12, one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of 16 and one count of showing obscene material to a minor.

The case dated back to November 2010, when the victims provided sworn statements to a Pasco County deputy that they had been molested by Prahasky multiple times in his Spring Hill residence.

The younger victim accused Prahasky of molesting her three separate times — once while she was watching television and twice while she was spending the night in the guest bedroom.

The older victim said Prahasky first molested her when she was 13 while swimming in his pool. On other occasions, Prahasky groped her while showing her a pornographic recording, according to the Sheriff's Office. The offenses, she said, occurred until she was 16.

Another family member learned of the incidents and confronted Prahasky, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Assistant State Attorney Brian Trehy pushed Merritt to administer the maximum sentence of life for capital sexual battery. But Prahasky's attorney, Scott Smith, argued that his client had shown remorse for his actions and had no prior criminal history.

"Over a year would be a life sentence," Smith told the court.

The father of the girls told the court that he had no sympathy for Prahasky. The Times is withholding his name to protect the identities of the victims.

"Look at what he took from my girls," he said. "Jail is the only place for him."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@tampabay.com.

Hernando man gets life sentence for sex crimes against two girls 01/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:24pm]
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