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Molester gets 30 years in prison



TAMPA — During more than two decades on the bench, Hills­borough Circuit Judge Barbara Fleischer has seen evidence of terrible crimes. Lwane Mansell's was not the worst, she said.

But his molesting of an 11-year-old girl was bad enough to earn him 30 years in prison.

"You're dangerous," Fleischer said Thursday. "You are terribly, terribly dangerous. You don't have a gun; you don't have a knife. But what you do, what you've done, is insidious."

Prosecutors have long wanted Mansell behind bars.

He served probation in the 1970s for a lewd act on a child.

Four times since 1990, problems with victims forced the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office to drop sex charges against the Dover man. Witnesses were too young to testify, couldn't be located or refused to cooperate.

Prosecutors said Mansell, 55, counted on that, preying on poor and immigrant children who were unlikely to speak up.

He earned their trust by calling himself a pastor.

In December 2006, he told an 11-year-old Plant City girl to call him "Grandpa Pastor." He said he was taking children to Sunday school and to see horses.

This week, the girl testified that Mansell put his hands on her thighs and breast, then offered to pay her to let him do it again.

At his sentencing, the girl said her sleep was filled with nightmares, her waking hours with distrust of people and suicidal thoughts.

"You used God's name in a lie," she told Mansell.

Fleischer urged the girl, now 12, to remain strong.

"You're a very brave young woman," the judge said. "You had the strength to say stop. I hope you'll think about that — your bravery, your courage — and that you'll have more dreams than nightmares."

Mansell still faces capital sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation charges for acts prosecutors say he committed while out on bail for the December 2006 case.

They are hoping he will accept an offer for a concurrent prison sentence, sparing other young children from a trial.

Molester gets 30 years in prison 03/07/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2008 2:35pm]
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