Former Bethel foster parent sentenced to 66 years in child sexual abuse case


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BETHEL, Alaska — A former Bethel foster parent and day care operator has been sentenced to 66 years in prison after pleading guilty in a child sexual abuse case.

Peter Tony was sentenced Tuesday in Bethel on three consolidated child sexual abuse counts, KYUK (http://is.gd/iDucAH) reported. He will have no possibility of parole.

In a plea deal with prosecutors in February, Tony pleaded guilty to charges of sexually abusing a minor in 2012 in a case involving a 4-year-old girl his wife had in day care. He also pleaded guilty to the 1998 molestation of a 12-year-old girl who said she would wake up to find Tony touching her.

He had faced seven felony counts.

Before running a small day care out of their home, Tony and his late wife Marylin were foster parents for 14 years until 1998.

The sentence was imposed by Superior Court Judge Douglas Blankenship during a hearing with a few victims and families in attendance.

"You're a predator and too dangerous to society, so what the court's intention is, is to keep you in jail until the end of your life," the judge told the 70-year-old man.

Among those at the hearing was Tony's stepdaughter, Kimberley Bruesch, who has said she was abused by Tony when she was 8 years old. The Ketchikan woman has said her two sisters also were abused as children and that they committed suicide as adults.

The Associated Press usually does not identify people who may be victims of sexual abuse, but Bruesch has spoken publicly about her allegations. She did not press charges because the statute of limitations had expired.

At Tuesday's hearing, Bruesch said she hoped other victims would be validated by the sentence. After the proceeding, she said she has found closure. She said the length of the sentence doesn't make a difference to her.

"It's not going to bring my sisters back," she said.

In considering the sentence, Blankenship silently reviewed one sister's suicide note that referred to the abuse. Tony, however, is going to prison for the more recent cases.

Public defender Mark Osterman had sought a shorter sentence for Tony.

"I think under the circumstances, Mr. Tony is redeemable, and I don't think the court should throw away the key," Osterman said.

Tony made a brief statement in court, saying he grew up with no father and no guidance. After being prompted by his attorney, he apologized.

Prosecutors have said Tony likely abused other children and that charges were filed in two cases where evidence existed.


Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

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