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April 27, 2010

Triple-digit sentence for child molester

In case anyone was concerned that only white-collar offenders received triple-digit sentences, this local story about a state sentencing of a child molester should provide a useful reality check.  Here are excerpts of note from the story:

Receiving what could be one of the longest non-homicide sentencings in Bedford County history, Greg Allen Gibbs Sr., 32, was sentenced Monday to 120 to 240 years in prison for committing sexual offenses against children.

Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins said he was "very happy" with Monday's sentencing. "This is a chance where the judge took advantage of an opportunity to take a child sex offender off the streets," Higgins said.

Gibbs, formerly of Mercer, was found guilty of 29 charges in December after a two-day trial and two hours of deliberation. According to testimony from Gibbs' wife, Tammy, she and her husband demonstrated sexual acts to three children, all younger than 10, and instructed the minors in how to perform explicit sexual acts with each other.

Bedford County President Judge Daniel Howsare also found Gibbs to be a sexually violent predator under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law. Howsare made the ruling upon the recommendation of Herbert Hays, a member of the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board....

Tammy Gibbs pled guilty in 2008 to three counts of endangering the welfare of children and served time in the Bedford County Prison from August 2007, when the pair was arrested, to February 2009. She aided in her husband's prosecution.

Higgins argued against concurrent sentences, saying Gibbs should be punished for each of the 29 separate and distinct criminal offenses. "The defendant should not be afforded a bulk discount for the multitude of depraved acts," Higgins said.

The maximum sentence recommended by the prosecution was 482 years.  Higgins was pleased nonetheless.  "The bottom line is that this sexually violent predator, Greg Gibbs, will never have access to children again, and absent a medical miracle, he will die behind bars," he said.

Though the crimes involved here are horrible, I cannot help but be a bit amused by the reporting of this sentencing.  That the sentence of 120 to 240 years in prison was less than half of what the prosecution requested is remarkable, as is the prosecutor's off-handed suggestion that the defendant here might outlive his triple-digit prison sentence with the help of a medical miracle.

April 27, 2010 at 08:07 AM | Permalink


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One short but telling paragraph got omitted from the excerpts:

"The crimes took place between August 2004 and March 2005 in the Gibbs' Monroe Township home south of Everett. Gibbs was charged with offenses that included rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse."

So it wasn't just that he was "teaching" them about things to do with one another. It's that he was the actor, including, apparently, anal rape. Which went on for half a year.

Sort of puts the sentence in a different light.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 27, 2010 9:23:43 AM

I believe that Oklahoma has really long sentences quite often--Doug, is that your understanding?

Posted by: federalist | Apr 27, 2010 9:54:12 AM

the telling paragraph for me was this one!

"Gibbs, formerly of Mercer, was found guilty of 29 charges in December after a two-day trial and two hours of deliberation."

they covered the evidence in 29 counts AND had a jury deliberation in 2days and 2hrs? can anyone say sandbagged!

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 27, 2010 11:40:11 AM

and i'm sorry but any sentence beyond "the rest of your natural life" is simply either showboatting or criminal stupidity!

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 27, 2010 11:41:07 AM

Bill Otis explains the reason why one defendant deserves 482 years and the other a year and a half. It's a matter of plumbing.

Since we are picking out favorite lines, here's another.

ZOE: How do you write women so well?

MELVIN: I think of a man and take away reason and accountability.

Posted by: Someone | Apr 27, 2010 1:09:52 PM

"Someone" --

Get off the weed. Just a tip.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 27, 2010 6:23:46 PM

That's "As good as it gets".
I liked it too.

Posted by: Mike | Apr 28, 2010 6:27:29 PM

I am a student doing a Thesis on the disparity of sentences given to child molesters. I agree the harsher the sentence the better. In the State that I live in (Nevada)Sexual molestation gets a life sentence w/ possibility of parole. and 10 yrs for lewdness with a child under the age of 14 in most cases. The problem I see happening is there are too many cases of plea bargaining which I think needs to be changed. Different States have different guidelines and this also needs to be changed and we need uniformity here. This would be one way of deterring this crime because if the sentencing guidelines are uniform, anyone that commits this kind of heinous crime will know that no matter what state he or she is in, they will get the same sentence and that sentence will become harsher the worse the crime is

Posted by: Surette | May 23, 2012 12:45:00 PM

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