Saturday, October 15, 2005
Youth probation officer gets 80 years for abusing teens
Jan brings us this...
Portland, Oregon - Michael Boyles, the former youth probation officer who exploited his position for years to have sex with teenage boys placed in his care, fought Thursday to postpone his inevitable entry into prison.
But the presiding judge told him, "The victims have been jerked around enough in this case," and then sentenced the 50-year-old man to 80 years in prison.
The decision in Multnomah County Circuit Court brings to an end the criminal prosecution of Boyles, who worked 11 years as a probation officer for the Oregon Youth Authority. But Boyles likely will be in court again because at least five of his former charges have sued him in civil court.
They also have named the state of Oregon in their complaints, saying Boyles' bosses at OYA should have known that he was selecting only boys for his caseload for a reason. They said Boyles groomed them with attention, clothes and restaurant meals and then sexually abused them -- often on state time.
During Boyles' four-week trial this summer, prosecutors introduced evidence showing that OYA officials heard complaints about Boyles' behavior from parents and other caregivers as early as 1995.
After Boyles' conviction in July on 45 counts of sexually abusing five boys and providing some with drugs, prosecutors made it clear they would ask for as much prison time as the law allowed to keep Boyles incarcerated until he dies.
His sentencing had been postponed twice. On Thursday, Courtroom 535 was packed with victims and their families, plus a few of the lawyers in the civil suits. One of the jurors who convicted Boyles also came to witness the hearing.
The start was delayed for 90 minutes as Boyles consulted with his lawyers. Finally, he came before Circuit Judge Michael Marcus and asked for another postponement to gather witnesses and to write his own sentencing memorandum.
When Marcus said no, several voices in the gallery said as one, "Good!"
Then eight people stood to speak to the court and to Boyles. The first, one of his victims, looked directly at his former probation officer and said in a soft but intense voice: "I will forgive you. But I will never forget, and knowing you are in prison makes me a very happy person."
Another of his victims strode to the lectern, faced Boyles and said: "I bet you never thought it would be me to bring you down."
Scott Sudaisar, the state police detective who chased Boyles for two years, told Boyles, "These are hearts of gold in this room, and you attempted to tarnish them. . . . No matter how highly you think of yourself, you will never be like them."
Marcus then asked Boyles, "Is there anything you'd like to say?"
"No, sir," Boyles replied to a few snorts of disgust in the gallery.
Marcus took nearly 15 minutes to enumerate the penalties for each count against Boyles; with most of the terms consecutive and much of it mandatory, the sentence came to 80 years.
Finally, the judge spoke to those who had urged him to place Boyles in the general prison population on the expectation that other inmates might impose their own justice on a sex offender. Marcus said that how Boyles serves his time is a decision left to the Department of Corrections, although, "I can surely understand why many believe that Mr. Boyles should be physically brutalized and dismembered."
But, he added, "To some extent, how we respond to the most heinous among us is a measure of our social maturity and also has to do with the message we're sending," he said. "It is, I think, to our credit as a society that for even the most heinous of offenders and offenses, we refrain from the most vicious and brutal of punishments."
As the paperwork was processed, the observers slowly left the courtroom, but they lingered in the marble hall hugging one another. They watched sheriff's deputies march Boyles out, then they left the building, too.