A judge on Tuesday sentenced a 30-year-old man to 15 years eight months in prison for sexually abusing a girl over five years in Modesto.
David Allen Murphey also will have to register as a sex offender for life. A jury in May found him guilty on five counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts on a child younger than 14, along with one count of sending harmful material with the intent of seducing a minor.
The abuse started when the girl was 5 years old in 2004. Authorities said Murphey showed the child pornographic images.
Stanislaus ✔ Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff said the child was vulnerable and that substantial evidence in the trial indicated the defendant planned his abuse of the little girl.
Deputy District Attorney Beth O’Hara Owen argued against a mitigated sentence for Murphey. She reminded the judge that the child’s mother has said in court that her daughter faces a lifetime of dealing with the harmful psychological affects of sexual abuse.
The prosecutor also asked the court to order Murphey to pay restitution: $900 for counseling for the victim and $250,000 in punitive damages for her.
The prosecutor told the judge the girl has suffered a lot and that the money could be used to help her. Owen said the child is a straight-A student with perfect school attendance and wants to go to college.
A criminal court judge rarely grants restitution for punitive damages. Restitution orders mainly focus on financial losses caused by the criminal act, such as medical costs.
Typically, crime victims seek punitive damages in civil court. State law, however, offers an exception in cases of lewd or lascivious acts on a child younger than 14.
Zeff granted the prosecution’s restitution request for counseling costs and punitive damages.
Authorities can garnish half of a prison inmate’s wages and personal expense account while in custody to pay part of the restitution. Murphey will be responsible for paying the rest of the money once he is released.
Graylin Bryant, Murphey’s defense attorney, called the restitution “way over the line.” The judge told Murphey he can appeal the sentence.