Friday, September 26, 2008

Abuser of disabled woman gets 2 years added to sentence

A 62 year old Chippewa Falls, WI man who was the caregiver of a 37 year old developmentally disabled woman with the mental capacity of an 8 year old had his sentence increased from 6 to 8 years after an appeal of his sentence. The appeal was due to procedural guidelines not being followed.

Donald Newell was convicted in October of abusing the woman in the nursing home in which she lived. Chippewa County Assistant District Attorney Wade Newell, not related to the appellant, stated that yesterday's hearing was a procedural hearing meant to update case information.

Judge Roderick Cameron stated that a bunch of aggravated factors, including denial of the harm done by the sexual abuse, Donald's position of trust and power over his victim, and denial of the cognitive limitations of the victim, lead him to increase the prison sentence from 6 to 8 years. Newell will also serve 15 years of extended supervision, given after the end of a custodial sentence.

Donald Newell had been the 37-year-old woman's personal caregiver in 2003 when the assaults occurred. He maintained it had been a consensual relationship, although the woman had been assessed with the mental capacity of an 8-year-old child.

Donald Newell disputed claims her cognitive ability was limited, and he compared her to Helen Keller "who everyone thought was useless until someone wanted to help her."

Donald Newell told the court in his "defense" that the victim and him were having an affair, and that most politicians (And I must add, men in general!) would be in prison if affairs were illegal (which they technically are in many states.)

"Three different people knew [she] and I were having an affair, and they did nothing. They did not tell me it would be a crime. I love [her] very much still and am praying she gets freedom from the people who are still abusing her. No matter what happens today, I am still going to fight for [her]."

Prosecutor Newell stated that the defendant simply did not understand what he did wrong and that showed a lack of responsibility or remorse.

"In a lot of situations this would be a low-risk person, but he had all that going for him yet he continued to commit crime. He would not benefit from treatment because there is nothing to treat. He doesn't think he has done anything wrong. He still doesn't get it. He takes no responsibility for what he's done."

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