BY Sean Mills Staff writer
The words of a 19-year-old sexual abuse victim were read in County Court this morning, with the girl not only saying that she was proud of her personal growth, but that she also felt sorry for the former school teacher that abused her.
"Child molesters, like David Lemery, take everything away from children," said the girl’s letter, which was read to the packed courtroom by First Assistant District Attorney Dawn Catera-Lupi.
"David deserves to be in prison with all the rest of the sick people in the world...you deserve to feel the pain that I have carried with me in the past 15 years."
Judge Michael L. Dwyer granted the girl’s request — to an extent.
Lemery, 50, of 145 Berrill Ave., Waterville, was sentenced to three years in state prison, a lighter sentence than the possible maximum of seven years. Lemery was also sentenced to five years of post-release supervision, and ordered to pay court and victim fees.
Lemery was convicted by a jury on May 17 of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a class D felony. However, the jury acquitted Lemery on a much more severe charge of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child.
Authorities said from September 1997 through January 2002, Lemery abused the girl while working as a physical education teacher and coach at Memorial Park Elementary School in Waterville. According to testimony at Lemery’s trial, he would have the girl pull down her pants and then sit on his lap, which occurred on numerous occasions.
"I have done everything I could to erase it from my mind," the girl said in her letter. "From rebellion to drugs."
Judge Dwyer said the girl’s troubled history was due in large part to the abuse Lemery inflicted, which she carried with her in silence. The victim only came forward to authorities last year.
"I can’t help but think that this abuse was probably solely responsible for those problems," Dwyer told Lemery. "You have damaged the sacred trust that everyone puts in teachers."
Dwyer said the key evidence against Lemery at trial were a series of three recorded telephone conversations between Lemery and the girl. Dwyer said that not once did Lemery deny the accusations in those conversations.
"You told her that you were sorry for whatever damage was caused," Dwyer said today. "You called yourself a loser," and suggested that he kill himself.
The lenient sentence for Lemery was partially a result of many letters Dwyer said he had received from people in the community who wrote highly of Lemery. Some of those words were echoed by defense attorney Emil Rossi, who spoke on Lemery’s behalf this morning.
Rossi read a letter from one of Lemery’s student athletes, who wrote, "his moral character is one I have always looked up to, and one I would be proud to demonstrate to a son of my own."
Rossi told the judge that many years have passed since the abuse occurred, and since that time Lemery has been fighting Leukemia. Rossi also said that Lemery has very strong support from his family and the community.
"There is a part of his life that is very different from these allegations," Rossi told the judge. "The measure of his life...must be defined by more than the events that were part of this trial."
After sentencing, Lemery was led out of the courtroom in hand-cuffs. Then members of Lemery’s family began to loudly argue with the victim and her family, who were also seated in the courtroom. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office quieted Lemery’s family and they were led out of the courtroom.