Barton

Barton

Barton

A Roseburg convicted sex offender died while in custody at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, announced the Oregon Department of Corrections on Wednesday.

Leo Keith Barton, 80, of Roseburg, was serving a 56-year sentence for multiple sex crimes against children. His release date was set for 2075.

On Oct. 5, 2018, Barton was sentenced by Douglas County Circuit Court Judge William A. Marshall on five counts of first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sodomy and first-degree unlawful sexual penetration.

The charges stemmed from crimes committed between 2000 and 2015 and involved three children who he helped care for.

Due to the severity of the crimes, during sentencing, Marshall chose to give Barton consecutive sentences for each victim.

Barton claimed that the jury did not get to hear his side of the story as he and his wife, who operated a daycare center in their home, were not called as witnesses.

Barton’s crimes fell under Oregon’s Jessica’s Law statute, which increased mandatory minimum sentences for several first-degree sex crimes. Oregon passed Jessica’s Law, which originated in Florida, in 2006.

The case was tried four times from 2016 to 2018, the fourth after a third victim had come forward.

Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Terry Smith-Norton was called upon to prosecute the case. She said that once a third victim came forward in 2010, the Department of Human Services asked the Bartons to stop operation of their daycare center.

Each of Barton’s three victims were younger than 14 years old.

When Judge Marshall asked Smith-North if there were additional victims that chose not to come forward, she said there were.

In a written statement to the court, one of the victims wrote that Barton “should be locked away for life.”

No further information was given about Barton’s death.

Donovan Brink can be reached at dbrink@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4219.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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