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CROWN POINT — A 79-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison for child molestation.

Dino O. French was found guilty at trial in November of child molestation, a class A felony, on allegations he molested a young girl he baby-sat between 1994 and 2008. The jury found him not guilty of child molestation on allegations made by a second alleged victim.

The allegations were reported to Gary police in the fall of 2014.

Deputy Prosecutor Maureen Koonce argued French should be sentenced to 48 years in prison. She said he was convicted in 1971 of assault, for which he was sentenced to six years in prison. He was previously acquitted of child molestation in 1979, according to Koonce.

Defense attorney Linda Kollintzas said she believed the minimum sentence — 20 years in prison — was appropriate. She said French was in poor health and maintained his innocence.

“I did not do one thing,” French told Judge Diane Boswell.

Boswell sentenced French to 40 years prison. French said he would appeal the sentence.

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


Courts and social justice reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.