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Pasco man gets life for sex abuse of children

NEW PORT RICHEY — The children, ages 6 and 8, used a Spider-Man doll and a Barbie to demonstrate for investigators what happened to them: David Charles Sutton performing oral sex, touching, masturbating.

Both of them repeated their description again on Tuesday — this time for a jury. They called genitals "peepee" and said "he touched me on my wrong spot."

Sutton, 73, also testified and emphatically denied any wrongdoing.

There was no physical evidence, so the case came down to the word of the children versus the word of the accused.

The jury believed the kids, finding Sutton guilty of three counts of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation. Circuit Judge Michael Andrews sentenced Sutton to life in prison.

The Times does not identify victims of sexual crimes. These were children who knew Sutton, a retired truck driver living in Hudson, and were sometimes in his care. They reported that the molestation happened on June 17, 2009, while Sutton's wife went to the store and he was alone with them. The girl, 6, said Sutton performed oral sex on her. The boy, 8, said he saw it.

Investigators, who asked the children questions about the difference between the truth and a lie, determined they were telling the truth.

They both said there had been other incidents. They said Sutton told them never to tell anyone. The girl made references to penetration. But a physical exam found no injury or bleeding, and the examiner said such signs would very likely be present on a child that young.

"Often there is damage with digital penetration," said Molly Jerman, the examiner.

What's more, the girl's mother testified that her daughter has a blood disorder that causes her to bleed easily and makes it hard to stop the bleeding.

The jury also heard about a postcard Sutton sent his wife saying, "I'm sorry I messed up your life and mine."

His wife also said he told her they "needed to get their stories straight" before he talked to his lawyer.

Sutton, for his part, said he was admitting to nothing in the postcard and he never told his wife they needed to concoct a story.

One of the jurors asked Sutton why he thought the children would make up these allegations against him.

His answer: "I have no clue. Maybe it's because I was disciplining them."

Assistant State Attorney Chris Sprowls then put Sutton's wife back on the stand, and she said she did all the disciplining.

Pasco man gets life for sex abuse of children 03/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 8:51pm]
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