Guilty Plea by Garland

Front Page / Sep. 17, 2009 12:01pm EDT

By Cornelia Cesari

In Orange County District Court Sept. 9, Philip Garland, 52, of Bradford pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, second offense.

The original charges also included aggravated sexual assault against a victim less than ten years old. Garland pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct; but as part of the agreement, the state dismissed the second charge of aggravated sexual assault.

Judge Thomas J. Devine declined to sentence Garland at the hearing, acknowledging that the victim and his mother are “not pleased” with the proposed suspended sentence of 5 to 15 years. Sentencing at a later date would give the court an opportunity to hear their statements.

Judge Devine also referred to the benefit of taking into account a complete PSI (pre-sentencing investigation), which would be available at a later date. Under this arrangement, Garland will retain the right to withdraw his guilty plea pending sentencing.

Lewd and lascivious conduct, second offense, can carry a sentence of five years to life and/or a $25,000 fine. Garland is still under partial sentence for another charge.

The charges stem from incidents allegedly occurring between 1996 and 1999 in Randolph, involving a male juvenile between the ages of five and eight. The judge recounted details of the events and Garland acknowledged that they had occurred, to the best of his knowledge, and for no purpose other than for his own gratification.

The boy, at 16, stated in 2008 that he “tries to keep those memories locked up,” but Garland’s 2007 release (after serving four years of a three to five year sentence for lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor and sexual assault of a victim less than 16 years of age) prompted them to surface.

Garland’s courtroom state–ments Wednesday confirmed those that were quoted in the affidavit from the time of his arrest—that he was drinking heavily during this time and would frequently blackout. “My life was out of control,” he reflected, but to Judge Devine’s approval, stated that he “is now nine years sober.”

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