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Stepfather gets 20 years for sex abuse

A New Port Richey man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday after pleading no contest to a charge of attempted capital sexual battery involving his 4-year-old stepdaughter. The 71-year-old man will be required to undergo psychological evaluations and any recommended mental health counseling. To protect the identity of the victim, none of the people involved is being named.

The man was accused of molesting the girl at their home in March, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report. The girl later complained of pains and was taken to the hospital. Doctors found the girl had been sexually assaulted, the report said.

Detectives also think the man molested two older stepdaughters. One daughter, now 24, said the man fondled her when she was 8 years old.

The other daughter, now 26, said he molested her as many as 40 times during a two-year period of her childhood, the report said.

The girl's maternal grandmother attended the sentencing Monday. As the man was led off to jail, she cried and hugged him goodbye.

Assistant Public Defender Robin L. Kester said it is unusual in such cases for there to be so little bitterness among family members.

"The family wasn't vindictive, just relieved," she said.

The man had been in custody at the West Pasco Detention Center for about a year.

The man's plea was to a lesser charge than the original count of capital sexual battery, which carries a minimum of life imprisonment, Kester said. The man could serve half the sentence before being released, she said.

The sentence also stipulates that the man cannot be in contact with any child under 16 without supervision and cannot have any contact with the victim.

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