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Twenty-nine-year-old James Matthewson, who sexually assaulted three young children, hung his head and sniffled as the children’s mother described their suffering during a sentencing hearing this morning in New London Superior Court.
Matthewson, formerly of Ledyard, had pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child under 13, one count of illegal sexual contact with a minor and two counts of risk of injury to a minor.
Judge Hillary B. Strackbein told Matthewson his behavior was “unspeakable” as she sentenced him to 10 years in prison followed by a combination of special parole and probation totaling 35 years. He is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and is permanently prohibited from having contact with the victims and their family members.
“You stole the innocence of these children,” she said.
Prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman said Matthewson had extensive sexual contact with three girls in 2013 and early 2014. State police began investigating after one of the girls disclosed the abuse to an adult. Ferryman said it was tragic because the children had brought the matter to light years ago, but then recanted, making it impossible for the state to pursue charges.
Defense attorney Peter E. Scillieri said Matthewson understands he needs to acknowledge the crimes and work hard in treatment.
Though he had faced many decades in prison, the state had offered Matthewson a plea deal involving a sentence of 20 years in prison, suspended after 10 years served, followed by 35 years of state supervision so that the victims would not be re-traumatized on the witness stand had the case gone to trial.
Because he pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault, the law requires that Matthewson be on special parole for the first 10 years following his release, according to Ferryman. He will then switch over to probation for the remainder of his sentence.