The Mohawk Corrections Officer accused of sexual misconduct with two young girls is sentenced to 43 years in prison. Donald Hughes was sentenced today in Oneida County Court. Hughes was found guilty in January of five of the six counts he was charged with, including sexual misconduct and sexual abuse--against his step-grandchildren.
Prior to the sentencing, the mother one of the young girls spoke directly to Hughes and the judge, about the irreversible damage done to her family.
"Because of the trauma you inflicted upon her, she will never be the same little girl I once knew," says the mother of one of the victims. "I can't hug her, because she flinches in fear, she has nightmares, I can't hug her when she is upset for fear of being touched, and I'm her mother...I hope that the court sentences you to the maximum sentence that you can possibly receive for what you have done."
First Assistant District Attorney Dawn Lupi addressed Judge Barry Donalty once again as well. "He can't admit what he has done to these children, so that's all we have left, is punishment."
Maintaining his actions as a misunderstanding, Hughes delivered these words to the court. "I never meant to do any harm, do anything improper towards them. I have only love and the utmost respect for both of them."
In response, Judge Donalty says he, like the jury, sees right through Hughes' belief that this was all just a misunderstanding. "The proof in this case was overwhelming. This was a series of unspeakable crimes against these two young ladies. It's something they're going to have to live with for the remainder of their days."