A district judge has sentenced a Mandan man convicted of inappropriately touching two girls to 12 years in prison.
A jury convicted Barry Roe, 55, of two counts of Class A felony gross sexual imposition on Aug. 1 after a two-day trial.
South Central District Judge Tom Schneider sentenced Roe on Tuesday to 20 years in prison with eight years suspended and five years of supervised probation on each count, to be served concurrently.
An 8-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl were interviewed in March 2012 at the Dakota Children's Advocacy Center, according to an affidavit from Mandan Police Detective Peter Czapiewski. The 8-year-old girl said Roe touched her in a sexual manner on Feb. 7, 2012, and the 11-year-old girl said Roe began touching her around the time she was 5 years old.
The two girls also "spoke of wigs and women's clothing that Roe would have them dress up in," Czapiewski wrote. Wigs and women's clothing were found during a search of Roe's home.
Morton County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Grosinger recommended the sentence handed down by Schneider. Grosinger said he put “great weight” into victim statements from the two girls and their families. The girls have indicated they no longer trust people and their performance in school is reduced.
“This is a significant offense, and it requires significant punishment,” he said.
Robert Martin, Roe’s appointed defense attorney, said Roe has health problems that mean a 12-year sentence would be, in essence, a life sentence. He recommended one that would be completely suspended or no longer than it takes to complete sex offender treatment at the North Dakota State Penitentiary.
Roe, who has maintained his innocence throughout court proceedings, said he still loves the two children and believes they were coerced into making statements against him. He said he has spent most of his life looking out for children and “never touched a child” inappropriately.
Schneider, who informed Roe of his right to appeal the case to the North Dakota Supreme Court, told Roe the jury heard from witnesses for the state and those who sided with Roe.
“They, frankly, didn’t believe you,” the judge said.