The Roseburg man convicted of sexually abusing three different children in the last decade was sentenced to 56 years in prison Thursday.

Leo Keith Barton, 78, was convicted of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, first-degree sodomy and five counts of first-degree sex abuse on Oct. 5.

During sentencing, Douglas County Circuit Court Judge William Marshall chose to give Barton consecutive sentences for each victim.

Barton and his attorney Charles Lee maintained his innocence in court Thursday.

“I would like you to know I’m not guilty of anything,” Barton said while standing in front of the judge.

Barton began to cry, looked at the victim’s family and said the children he helped babysit loved him a lot. Then, Barton claimed that one of the victims — who Barton had just been convicted of abusing — began touching Barton first.

Barton said the jury didn’t hear his side of the story, because he and his wife weren’t called as witnesses.

He said that if he was on the jury, he would have come to the same guilty verdict had he not heard from the defendant.

Barton’s crimes fall under Jessica’s Law, the informal name given to mandatory sentencing for sex crimes in which the victim is under 12.

Those offenders are given the same 300-month mandatory prison sentence that is handed down to defendants convicted of murder.

But Lee said sentencing Barton under Jessica’s Law was inappropriate because Barton had no prior convictions and there was no physical injury alleged. The defense attorney said Barton was fervent in his denial.

“Our position is that this didn’t happen,” Lee said.

Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Terry Smith-Norton said a different victim came forward in 2010, prompting the Department of Human Services to ask the Bartons to stop running a daycare in their home.

Smith-Norton said the Bartons waited approximately three years before starting the daycare back up.

Barton was charged with engaging in sexual intercourse with one child under 12 years old and engaging in sexual contact with another child under 12 from September 2014 to May 2015.

Marshall asked Smith-Norton 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.”

Upon hearing that, Barton said “Jesus,” while putting his head in his hand.

A family member of one of the victims described their child’s fear upon seeing Barton, or the “bad man,” while walking around town.

Barton had been granted conditional release and remained out of custody until he was convicted earlier this month.

Another family member asked that Barton be sentenced for a minimum of 15 years — Barton got nearly four times that and is required to register as a sex offender.

Saphara Harrell can be reached at 541-957-4216 or sharrell@nrtoday.com. Or on Twitter @daisysaphara.

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Crime and Natural Resources Reporter

Saphara Harrell is the crime and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She previously worked at The World in Coos Bay. Follow her on Twitter @daisysaphara.

(4) comments

pwchoices

The majority of prison inmates really hate child molesters. Sex offenders may serve their sentence with other prison “outcasts” in protective custody. Sometimes, even in isolation or solitary confinement, for their own safety. Consecutive sentences should be given out more often than concurrent sentences. I feel sorry for his wife.

bohica13

I can testify to that.

Mogie

Very sad when you think about all the children that had to suffer thru this old man's sick actions. The blame the victim defense just shows this person has no real remorse concerning what he did.

bohica13

The very fact he accepts NO responsibility for his crimes makes him a threat to
the community. I was a Counselor in a large men's prison in SoCal for many years. I interviewed hundreds of guys like this character. An often heard remark
like, " She was being provocative!", or "She touched me first!" only convinced me
further he was attempting to divert the blame back on the child. At his age he most likely has NUMEROUS victims over a long period of time hiding in the shadows he will never admit to. For his lawyer to say he never physically harmed his victims is irresponsible . Aside from the fact an assault by a grown man on a child is no doubt painful the emotional damage may last a lifetime.
At his age 56 years is a life sentence, and appropriate. Sadly, there's a whole legion of these slugs roaming around our communities .

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