VALPARAISO | Just moments after being sentenced to a maximum of 50 years in prison for molesting a young girl over a period of several years, Hobart resident Arthur Gutierrez made hand gestures and mouthed words to the victim's family in the courtroom.
Gutierrez, who will be classified as a sexually violent predator and required to serve three days rather than one for each day off for good time credit, was escorted out of the courtroom ahead of the other inmates.
Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa cited the young age of the victim (4-7) and the believably of her testimony during last month's trial while explaining his sentence.
"She had to experience that to be able to testify the way she did," he said.
The abuse occurred between 2007 and 2010 in Liberty Township.
Gutierrez, 33, showed no reaction to the sentence and said moments earlier, "I'm not like this."
"There's so much I want to say," he said during a statement that was interrupted at times by his defense attorney Bob Harper.
Gutierrez said the reason he did not accept a proposed plea agreement in the case was because he did not want to give up his son.
Alexa later told Gutierrez that his decision to take the case to trial forced the young victim to go through the traumatic experience of testifying.
The father of the young victim gave an emotional statement, saying to Gutierrez, "You have taken the most precious thing from her, her innocence."
"As you sit in prison, I pray you don't have one good night of rest," he said. "You sentenced my daughter to a lifetime of horrible memories."
The 50-year sentence was five years more than sought by prosecutors and 30 years more than suggested by the defense.
Gutierrez, who was awarded the assistance of a public defender's office to pursue an appeal, had been tried in August on charges of molesting a second girl, that one from Valparaiso. That trial ended in a hung jury, with jurors voting 11-1 in favor of a not guilty verdict.