MICHIGAN CITY — A 78-year prison sentence has been given to a man convicted of child molesting for abusing a girl starting when she was in 1st grade.
LaPorte County Prosecutor John Espar had asked for the maximum 108 years.
He said the sexual contact occurred regularly for six years, leaving the victim with a lifetime of emotional scars.
"That life during those formative years left a child in ruin," Espar said.
Anthony Mashburn, 38, was convicted Nov. 30 by a LaPorte Superior Court 1 jury on four counts of child molesting, two of them Class A felonies.
Mashburn, in tears, proclaimed to be innocent and requested leniency during Friday's sentencing hearing.
"I’d really like if you didn’t sentence me for the rest of my life away from my family. I’m not the person they say I am," Mashburn said.
According to the evidence, most of the abuse took place in the Michigan City area.
Espar said it stopped when Mashburn, fearing the girl was going to tell someone, left for several weeks.
Espar said Mashburn returned only when informed things were kept secret, then resumed the activity.
The girl was 17 when she broke her silence in 2015. Later, during a recorded telephone conservation with Mashburn, she revealed she had told someone, authorities said.
About 20 seconds of silence followed before the girl asked how to respond if anyone else inquired about what she revealed.
The man alleged by prosecutors to be Mashburn on the recording stated, "Tell them it’s a lie.”
According to authorities, he then ended the call.
Several of Mashburn's family members described him as a loving, kind, compassionate husband and father who wouldn’t hurt anyone.
"I don’t believe a word of the testimony," said his wife, Rachel Schlene.
Mashburn told the court he plans to appeal.