Judge tough in sex case

Man sentenced in case involving his daughter

District Court Judge Todd Plewe was unsympathetic Thursday toward a 36-year-old Cortez man accused of sexually abusing his daughter.

Craig Sharp of County Road N was initially charged with four counts of sexual assault on a child stemming from incidents occurring from June 22 to July 13, 2013. He pleaded guilty to criminal attempt to commit sexual assault on a child in February, and was sentenced to four years in community corrections on Thursday, June 19.

Plewe told Sharp, who appeared in custody after serving 323 days in jail, that he was concerned about the defendant’s lack of responsibility in the case by blaming the sexual abuse on alcohol use.

“You’re not here in court today because you’re a drunk,” said Plewe. “You’re here today because you molested a girl, your daughter.”

Plewe said he was also “troubled” that Sharp seemed emotionless throughout the criminal proceedings, and described the defendant’s comments that the victim was confused and that he enjoyed his role as a father as “disturbing.”

“Fathers don’t do what you did,” Plewe told an unflinching Sharp. “Every good thing you ever did as a father has been destroyed.”

Given credit for time served, Sharp was ordered to remain in custody at the Montezuma County jail until a bed opened up at the Hilltop House in Durango, where he will serve out his four-year term. Sharp was also ordered to register as a convicted sex offender, undergo mental health treatment, submit to drug and alcohol testing and pay $2,400 in restitution. He was instructed to not have contact with the victim or any other minor under age 18.

Appearing in court on behalf of the victim, a counselor read a half-page statement in which Sharp’s daughter requested he receive up to 10 years in prison.

“I’m mad at him for doing what he did,” read the counselor. “I try not to think about it.”

The victim’s mother also appeared at sentencing, reading from a two-page letter she had written. She said her daughter was sad, resentful and scared, adding that she suffered flashbacks and nightmares.

“You don’t do this to any child, especially your own,” the mother said.

District Attorney Will Furse said a psycho-sexual evaluation of the defendant revealed he was not a sexually violent predator, and the intensive treatment he would receive was designed to prevent a repeat offense. He said no sentence could offer relief to the victim or family.

“Mr. Sharp has wreaked havoc on his family,” Furse said.

Sharp did not address the court during sentencing.