1 Nov 2010

Alaskan church youth leader gets 5 years for sexually abusing an autistic 12-year-old boy

Anchorage Daily News - Associated Press July 10, 2009

Kenai church youth leader gets 5 years for sex abuse

KENAI -- A Kenai Superior Court judge has sentenced a former church youth leader to five years and three months behind bars for sexually abusing an autistic 12-year-old boy.

"Where you had a position of authority in the church, this comes in the classic definition of hypocrite," Judge Carl Bauman told Richard Wagner on Thursday.

Wagner, 47, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor and possession of child porn. In exchange for the plea, the prosecutor dropped charges of indecent exposure and additional counts of sex abuse and possession of child porn.

Police said the abuse occurred between November 2007 and April 2008. Assistant district attorney Scot Leaders said he does not believe there were other victims.

The boy's mother, in a statement to the court, said her son had longed for a friend, someone he could trust. The woman and her husband wanted Wagner to remain in jail for a decade, at which time her son would be older than 21.

Wagner's defense attorney disputed that his client was receiving a lenient sentence.

"It's certainly not -- in our view -- a light sentence, especially because Mr. Wagner is a first offender," attorney Peter Mysing said.

When it was his time to speak, Wagner said he was "sorry about all this ... and about all the people I've hurt."

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