Despite pleas for leniency from the victim's mother, a Lombard man received 13 years in prison Wednesday for the sadomasochistic beating of a teenage girl.
Daniel Holm, 40, contends he paddled the nude teen on four occasions to punish her for breaking house rules. The 14-year-old girl and her younger brother moved in with Holm after he started dating their mother two years ago.
He videotaped the attacks, including one instance when he tied her to a pole. He kept the tape with his collection of pornographic videos, authorities said.
Before sentencing him, Circuit Judge Kathryn Creswell told Holm he betrayed the girl's trust. Under state law, he could have received up to 15 years in prison, the punishment both the girl and prosecutors requested.
"The defendant took advantage of his newfound position as her father," Creswell said.
A jury convicted Holm in January of child pornography, unlawful restraint and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Police arrested Holm after the girl reported the beatings to a friend, whose parents then contacted authorities.
The victim's mother, however, maintained Holm simply wanted the girl to turn her life around. The teen had minor scrapes with the law and was failing school before her family moved in with Holm, the mother said. Her grades and attitude improved under Holm's punishment style, her mother said.
"In my mind, it was what got her on the right path," said the mother, whose name is being withheld to protect her daughter's identity.
She also contends Holm's insistence on calling the teen "future slave" was a pet name, not a sadomasochistic gesture.
The woman relinquished custody of her daughter and son shortly after Holm's arrest. She remains steadfastly loyal to him, having sat behind the defense table during the trial and sentencing hearing.
"He's still my best friend and I love him dearly," she said.
The girl and prosecutors, however, allege Holm brainwashed the mother. The couple had a "master-slave" relationship in which she agreed to regular acts of sadism.
She often wore a dog collar and a uniform and was struck with a whip, court testimony revealed.
Holm had sent an e-mail to the mother before the arrest suggesting it was time for the girl to join the couple.
"Contrary to what the mother-of-the-year is saying, he broke up this family," prosecutor Michael Reidy said.
Holm sobbed as he apologized to the girl for his actions. The teen, who now lives in a DuPage County foster home, watched the apology with her mouth agape.
"I accept responsibility for my actions and my choices," Holm said. "My intention never was to harm. I'm sorry."
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