Longtime child molester gets 50-year term

Nov 04, 2005

By CHERY SABOL
The Daily Inter Lake

A man who admitted molesting children for 30 years was sentenced to 50
years in prison Thursday.

John Lewis, 43, was in Montana State Prison this spring on a 2001
sentence for criminal endangerment and failing to register as a sex
offender.

Flathead County Sheriffs Office detective Jeanne Landis had taken a
report from two children who accused Lewis of molesting them. She went to
the prison shortly before he was to be released and asked him about the
allegation.

To Landis amazement, Lewis confessed to molesting those children and 22
more.

According to testimony Thursday, there were more than 100 victims if the
court counts those whom Lewis admitted calling with obscene messages,
purposefully bumping into for sexual contact in crowded places, and
engaging in voyeuristic acts unknown to his victims.

He admitted to 24 hands-on victims as young as 1 year old. He was charged
with rape in Washington involving a 5-year-old girl. He was convicted at
trial there, but the charge was reduced to attempted indecent liberties
because of a technicality.

Lewis said he started committing sex crimes when he was 14.

I didnt have to admit to any of them, Lewis said. In prison, he went
through sex-offender treatment and believed that confessing candidly
would help him stop his behavior. He said that if he had lied to Landis
or refused to answer her questions, I probably would have ended up on the
street, re-offending.

But he also said, If I had lied, I wouldnt be sitting here right now.

A sex-offender evaluation shows that Lewis is considered a moderate risk
to commit more sex crimes. The director of clinical services at the
prison, Blair Hopkins, said Lewis did very well in sex-offender treatment
and took responsibility for his actions.

Hopkins said he doesnt believe Lewis should go back to prison and if he
does, I wouldnt have anything to offer him in terms of treatment. He
recommended lifetime community supervision for Lewis instead.

Lewis has said he cant promise he will never commit another sex offense,
but that is to his credit, according to his attorney, Glen Neier. That
shows that while Lewis has engaged in some reprehensible activities, he
is being truthful now.

Mr. Lewis honesty… has really put him in this position… Nobody can
say they are not going to reoffend.

Deputy County Attorney Dan Guzynski, though, said that a man held in
prison definitely will not molest another child; he recommended a 50-year
sentence for Lewis.

To protect the community, we need to be sure he is incarcerated for a
long time, Guzynski said. I think hes at high risk to hurt children.

District Judge Ted Lympus took the threat of future behavior seriously,
and said he also couldnt overlook Lewis incredibly horrific past that
included raping his wife, molesting children at ages 1 and 2, and
performing sex acts on young, vulnerable, defenseless victims, including
those who were guests in his home.

This is very serious, terrible behavior for which the defendant must be
held accountable.

His sentence for Lewis is for the protection of society, he said. I have
never come across one that is such a predator as this defendant.

Copyright © 2005, The Daily Interlake. All rights reserved.

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