Noting the defendant's “lack of insight” into why he was obsessed with spanking a 13-year-old girl, a Bucks County judge Monday sentenced a Northampton man to 10 to 23 months in the county prison.
John Mangan, 53, pleaded no contest to indecent assault and corrupting the morals of a minor. In addition to jail time, county Judge Albert Cepparulo ordered Mangan to serve five years of probation and ruled that he is not permitted to be alone with minor females during his sentence.
“What you did was depraved,” Cepparulo told Mangan. “What you did was as sick as it gets. Your intent when you did it was to satisfy your depraved sexual appetite. Saying otherwise is nonsense in its purest form.”
Mangan, a contractor, was arrested last year after the victim called police to report that Mangan had contacted her on her 18th birthday through MySpace, a social networking Web site.
The girl had previously reported to relatives that Mangan, a family friend, had molested her in 1999, when she was a sixth-grader.
She said that Mangan had repeatedly spanked her and touched her inappropriately. He stopped only when she threatened to commit suicide, police reports said.
Although police were made aware of the allegations in 2001, the child's family decided against pressing charges and the case was dropped. After Mangan began sending messages to the girl in 2006, she went to police on her own.
Detectives searched Mangan's home and uncovered numerous items that had belonged to the girl when she was younger, including toys and Minnie Mouse bedsheets. His home computer yielded numerous old photos of the victim, as well as several new photos that he'd downloaded from MySpace, printed, framed and displayed around his home.
One photo was placed on his bedside table. Another served as the opening wallpaper on his computer screen.
Police also found dozens of saved Web sites on Mangan's computer devoted to spanking as a sexual fetish.
When questioned by police, Mangan initially denied touching the girl, then later said, “I'm not saying it didn't happen.”
During the investigation, police recorded a conversation between Mangan and the victim. On the tape, which was played in court, Mangan apologized, saying, “You have no idea how bad I feel about it” and “It's bothered me for years. It still bothers me now.”
In court Monday, Mangan apologized to the girl again.
“Your feelings of betrayal are justified,” he said.
But when questioned by prosecutor Mark Walz about his intentions when he touched the girl, Mangan denied that his motives were sexual.
The victim watched the court proceeding in silence, giving the judge a letter to read, but not testifying.
Although state sentencing guidelines allowed Cepparulo to sentence Mangan to probation, Walz argued that a prison term was in order.
“This was a pattern of behavior, not just one incident,” Walz said. “And when he sought her out after all those years, the victim had to deal with the trauma of being victimized all over again. He has a clear obsession with this victim.”
Mangan's attorney, Niels Eriksen, said that Mangan is dealing with unresolved mental health issues that led him to become obsessed with the girl. He stressed that his client was only fixated on the victim, and has never done anything inappropriate with other girls, including his own daughter.
Eriksen presented the judge with a 20-page psychiatrist's report and said that Mangan promises to leave the victim alone.
“He now realizes his need for treatment and that his conduct was inappropriate,” Eriksen said.
After Cepparulo handed down the sentence and Mangan was handcuffed, his daughter burst into tears and yelled an obscenity across the courtroom at the victim.
In a no contest plea, a defendant doesn't admit guilt, but offers no defense. It carries the same weight at sentencing as a guilty plea.
Cepparulo told the victim that he hoped the sentence would give her closure.
“You are a strong woman. That strength will do you well in the future,” he said.
Source: University of New Hampshire
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