A former Glide man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three young girls at his wife’s day care more than a decade ago was sentenced Monday to six years and three months in prison.
In Douglas County Circuit Court, Melrose resident James Raymond Kaineg, 70, turned to face his victims, now young women, and apologized.
“I’m sorry, sorry, sorry and ask for your forgiveness,” Kaineg said. “I’d ask that your lives be full of love and peace.”
The three victims told Douglas County sheriff’s detectives that Kaineg repeatedly touched them inappropriately and subjected them to sexual contact. The incidents took place between 1998 and 2002.
The abuse came to light in June 2011 when a teenage girl told deputies she had been abused at the day care when she was 3 or 4 years old. Two other victims were identified and told deputies they suffered from abuse beginning when they were 7.
“Mr. Kaineg looked for opportunities when he could get these kids away from the other kids,” Deputy District Attorney Shannon Sullivan said.
The older victims reported the abuse to Kaineg’s wife, Vicky Kaineg, who died of cancer in 2003, but she warned them they could be punished for lying, Sullivan said.
Sullivan read letters from two of the victims and the mother and stepmother of the other victim.
“I have suffered nearly my entire life and this man has lived free,” one victim wrote. “While the abuse stopped, the nightmares continued.”
The mother of a victim wrote that her daughter went from being a happy girl to being an angry young woman who continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kaineg’s three adult daughters, Jamie, Melissa and Lucia, supported their father but also expressed sympathy for the victims.
“My heart breaks for you. I’m incredibly sorry that this happened,” Melissa Kaineg said, addressing the victims.
Circuit Judge Frances Burge accepted Kaineg’s guilty plea to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse on Oct. 23. Burge turned the case over to Judge Randy Garrison a couple of hours before the sentencing after reading letters of support from people who attend St. Joseph Catholic Church, where Kaineg worshipped. Burge attends the same church.
Sullivan argued that Kaineg should serve 75 months, the mandatory minimum sentence, for each count, for a sentence of 18 years and nine months.
Defense attorney David Terry argued for the sentences to run concurrently.
Terry said Kaineg suffers from several medical conditions, including non-alcoholic hepatitis and recently diagnosed diabetes.
Kaineg might not survive even the shorter sentence, but at least it would give him a chance at leaving prison, Terry said.
Garrison told the audience of about 60 people he was impressed by the letters supporting Kaineg and noted that Kaineg, a retired U.S. Forest Service worker, had not been in legal trouble before.
However, the judge said he was disappointed by several writers who expressed their belief that Kaineg wasn’t guilty and was being railroaded by the legal system.
“If we don’t believe that it did happen when it did happen, it will make it harder to make sure this kind of abuse never happens again,” Garrison said.
Kaineg, who was released from jail three days after his Aug. 5, 2011, arrest after posting $15,000 bail, was ordered to report to the jail after the hearing.
Garrison allowed Terry to walk him to the jail inmate processing center rather than have him handcuffed and escorted by a deputy. He will be transferred to the state prison system in the next few days.
Before he left, he hugged and kissed his current wife, Mary Kaineg, and his daughters and hugged and blew kisses to three dozen friends and supporters.
“Thank you all. I love you,” he said.
• You can reach reporter John Sowell at 541-957-4209 or by email at email@example.com.