Emotional sentencing takes place in pair of child sex abuse cases

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

One offender's sentencing evoked an angry reaction from the female victim's mother; the mother of a male victim tearfully appealed for mercy.

Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis honored prosecutors' recommendations on Monday when he sentenced two child sex offenders to serve in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

One offender's sentencing evoked an angry reaction from the mother of a female victim, while the mother of a male victim tearfully appealed for mercy for the second offender.

Jeffrey D. Anderson, 26, of 426 N. Middle St., Apt. A, in Cape Girardeau, received a 15-year prison sentence on a single count of statutory sodomy for molesting a 5-year-old girl in her home on North Street in Cape Girardeau.

He must serve 85 percent of his prison term before being eligible for parole.

In the hallway after the sentencing, the victim's mother said that her daughter wanted to see the judge put Anderson away.

As the victim's family was approaching their car, the mother shouted toward Anderson, "I hope you get raped ... every single day."

The mother of the male victim briefly appealed to Lewis for leniency before he sentenced Christopher L. Pugh, 23, of 187 B St. in Cape Girardeau for forcing a 7-year-old boy to perform oral sex.

"We love him," said the mother, who knew Pugh. "As you also know, this stands to affect our family. We ask for mercy."

Following the prosecution's recommendation, Lewis sentenced Pugh to four years in prison and placed him in the Sex Offender Assessment Program, which means he could be released after 120 days.

Pugh pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree statutory sodomy, reduced from first degree. Three additional charges were dropped which carried a potential sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors originally charged Anderson with three counts of first-degree statutory sodomy and dropped two of the charges in exchange for a guilty plea.

Police discovered Anderson's crimes when they were called to break up a fight in the home. The girl's older brother, who was 8 at the time, was trying to protect his sister, and their mother called the police.

When questioned by police, Anderson admitted he had molested the girl and that he had pornographic pictures of children on his computer.

Pugh's crime came to light when the boy told his father.

jmetelski@semissourian.com

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