Vondette sentenced to 16 years
Loy Vondette called his obsession with little girls a “problem” that he has to “put a handle on.” Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney called Vondette’s penchant for elementary-aged children “an infatuation with flirting with young girls.”But it’s much more sinister than that, said District Judge Daniel Petre. “This was attempted seduction,” he said during Vondette’s sentencing Thursday afternoon. Vondette, 44, will spend 16 years in a Colorado Department of Corrections prison for one count of second degree kidnapping and two counts of attempted sexual assault on a child. He will also serve a one-year concurrent sentence after pleading guilty Thursday to possessing a Ruger pistol and a .22-caliber rifle last August, just after he was released from a prison term he served for previous felony predatory behavior in the early 1990s. The weapons charge, filed last month, was based on witnesses’ accounts, Cheney said. None of Vondette’s victims – or anyone else – were in the courtroom to witness him admitting to having a problem with fancying young girls. Cheney recounted Vondette’s first offense last year: Vondette followed a 10-year-old girl in the Apple Tree Park subdivision in New Castle and tried to entice her to get into his red car. “She smartly retreated,” Cheney said. “She was a hero in my mind because she got Vondette’s license plate number and called the police.”Though Vondette admitted he was in the area, he denied the offense outright, Cheney said. Then there was another incident: “Two girls walking in Rifle,” Cheney said. “Here comes the same red car.”As the two girls, ages 12 and 9, walked through the Palomino Park subdivision on July 30, 2005, he said Vondette blew kisses at them and tried to coax them into his car. Then, Cheney said, Vondette began to approach the girls on foot, but the girls got his license plate number, got away and called police. “The community deserves to know Mr. Vondette is locked away,” Cheney said, adding that every time Vondette approaches little girls, it’s like running as fast as he can toward the edge of a cliff and stopping just before the brink.”Lock him away so he doesn’t take a 9-, 10 year-old girl with him,” Cheney said. “The pattern here is absolute disregard for other people, laws.”But Jim Conway, Vondette’s public defender, said Vondette represents a failure of the Colorado prison system to rehabilitate a sex offender. “It’s a compulsion with him,” Conway said. “He doesn’t do this voluntarily. There’s never been an incident of a hands-on offense. He appears highly motivated for treatment.”But Vondette said he can’t afford treatment, something Conway said can’t be had in prison. “I have no defense,” Vondette said. “I did harass, and I have no excuse. I have a problem and I have to put a handle on it somehow. It’s probably the best thing to keep me out of society.”Petre said he appreciated Vondette’s candor, but called his behavior “disturbing.””There is a high risk to offend given the level of his fixation” on young girls, the judge said. “It might just be a matter of time before Mr. Vondette would engage in hands-on activity if given the opportunity.”Petre said he agreed with the probation office that Vondette is not sexually violent, but the community would still be at great risk with Vondette on the street. Rehabilitation, he said, must take a back seat to protecting the community. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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