On Monday morning, the family of a victim of sexual deviate conduct, now age 8, watched as the admitted perpetrator was sentenced in Clay Circuit Court by Special Judge Robert Lowe.
"It's been two years (since the incident) and he got to walk free during that time while my daughter has nightmares," the mother of the victim told the court before sentencing. "My daughter wants to know why. Why her? She's innocent in all this. She's a victim in all this. Do you get that at all?"
Appearing in court with his attorney Angela Gates, Tom J. Roberts, of Brazil, was sentenced to four years imprisonment at the Indiana Department of Corrections, one year of home detention and three years probation as part of a plea agreement with Special Prosecutor James Hannah for his confession in the case.
Within seven days of his release, Roberts will register as a sex offender with local law enforcement. Unable to live within 1,000 feet of a public school or one mile of the victim, he will participate in a drug screening process and sex offender rehabilitation classes while maintaining no contact with the victim or the victim's family.
The court may have passed judgement, but it wasn't justice for the family. Their pain is magnified because of the little girl's long road to recovery from the adult emotions of rage, fear and pain forced upon her, family members said.
"It's not enough for him. I wonder if he realizes the amount of therapy she's going to have to go through because of this," a family member said outside the court.
The case began in the summer of 2004, when Indiana State Police Detective Tony Guinn investigated allegations that Roberts had molested a 6-year-old female juvenile.
At first, Roberts denied inappropriately touching or participating in any inappropriate activities with the juvenile in interviews with Guinn. But during a July 13 interview, he admitted to inappropriate activity with the juvenile approximately a month earlier and was arrested and booked into the Clay County Jail.
"He's lied about it all along, to everyone. Kept right on lying until he admitted to doing it last month," another family member told The Brazil Times. "In my opinion they should just lock child molesters up and let them rot in jail."
Roberts was walked across the street after the hearing to be booked into the Clay County Justice Center awaiting transfer to the Indiana Department of Corrections.