BROOKSVILLE — In a nearly empty courtroom, Richard Lamerton stood without emotion as the judge prepared to announce his sentence Friday.
He watched as his teary-eyed brother, Robert Lamerton, read a letter to the judge.
"My brother is not a bad man, your honor," he said. "Bad things just happen sometimes."
Richard Lamerton, 50, of Spring Hill was given 25 years in prison after he was convicted in June on five counts of child pornography after taking lewd photos of a teenage relative and storing the pictures on his computer.
Judge Stephen Rushing also gave Lamerton five years of probation after his release from jail.
Police found 97 nude or semi-nude photographs of the young girl that had been taken by Lamerton over several years.
He told the girl she was going to be a model, according to her statements.
Lamerton was found not guilty of sexual battery and molestation charges, but still faced a maximum 40 years in prison.
The former respiratory therapist at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and Spring Hill Regional Hospital remained silent as prosecutor Brain Trehy described Lamerton's actions as "sinister and disturbing."
The victim, who is now in her 20s, had come forward about the abuse, which she said had begun when she was 15.
As part of his sentence, Lamerton, now a registered sex offender, is banned from contacting his ex-wife, the victim or any other girls under 18 for the rest of his life.
Ryan Strong can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1432.