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Last updated on Wednesday, April 11, 2012
(BLOOMFIELD) - A former Switz City man convicted of three class C felony child molesting charges was sentenced in Greene Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon.
Randell L. Vandeventer, 51, was sentenced by Judge Dena Martin to serve seven years consecutively on each of the three counts, totaling 21 years in prison. He was convicted on three of six felony child molestation charges in a February jury trial.
Sabrina Westfall, of Greene County Daily World reports, Vandeventer was ordered to pay $100 court costs for each count, and restitution to the victims in the amount of $5,016.98 for one victim and $2,080 for the other victim.
Vandeventer's attorney, Luther Garcia of Indianapolis, said he would like to look over the information provided to the probation department to determine if the bills were relevant to the trial.
Martin gave him 15 days to review the information.
Vandeventer did not receive any time served due to currently serving 1 and one-half years in an unrelated child seduction conviction.
He was acquitted in the February trial of two counts of class A felony child molesting charges and a class C felony charge of attempted child molesting.
It was alleged Vandeventer molested four victims - three male and one female - over the span of 2000 to 2008 at Tiny Town Daycare in Switz City, which he co-owned with his wife, Lia.
The victims now range from ages 14 to 17 years.
Two of the counts of which Vandeventer was convicted involved a now 17-year-old boy, who was molested by Vandeventer between 2000 and 2008 by "knowingly and intentionally performing fondling or touching the child with the intent to arouse or satisfy sexual desires" of the child or himself.
The other count of which he was convicted involved a now 15-year-old boy who Vandeventer had molested between 2005 an 2006 while attending Tiny Town Daycare.
The acquitted charges consisted of an alleged attempted molestation of a female and alleged molestation of a boy who is now 16.
Garcia called Vandeventer's wife, Lia, to the stand to discuss the hardship it would create for her family for Vandeventer to be in prison.
"On a personal level, he has been taken from me, and that is difficult. This is the first time we have been apart since we have been married," Lia Vendeventer said.
She added she has to manage their housing alone and work 80 to 90 hours a week to keep their business running.
"We have two sons. They are devastated. We have two granddaughters who ask me every week, 'Where is Poppy?'," Lia said.
Lia's mother had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, and Vandeventer had been helping to maintain her estate and property.
Lia also noted she recently received notification from her insurance agency there had been two group claims taken out against the insurance policy.
When Deputy Prosecutor Kevin McIntosh called the parent of one of the victims to the stand she said she was unaware of any claims against the Vandeventer's insurance policy and had no intention to make a claim.
The parent had a prepared statement she read to the court.
She said when she would see her son curled up on the couch she would ask him what was wrong, and he would reply, "I don't know."
She told the court that with each "I don't know" she became more worried, and her fears were confirmed one day when he crawled into her lap and started crying.
"He started with, 'He told me it would be our secret'," she said. "I never knew such simple words could have such a terrible meaning."
She directed a comment towards Randy Vandeventer, telling him what he had done to their children was unforgettable, she hoped he would admit to what he did, but assured him it would not affect their personal lives.
"The truth might be ugly, but the truth will set you free, and they are free of your secret," she said.
In regards to the sentencing, Garcia said if put on probation Vandeventer would have to register as a sex offender and would have very strict guidelines for being around children.
He also noted studies show non-violent sex offenders tend to have less than 5 percent recidivism, which means to repeat an act after receiving negative consequences for a behavior or action.
In a discussion between McIntosh, Garcia, and Judge Martin, Garcia suggested some of the aggravating factors considered in the sentencing were not relevant to the case.
Garcia said as owner of Tiny Town Daycare, Vandeventer was not actually in care, custody and control of the children.
McIntosh disagreed, noting the children were in Vandeventer's direct care.
"That aggravated circumstance alone is enough to warrant the maximum sentence," McIntosh said.
Garcia also noted that while Vandeventer is currently serving time on a D felony charge, when the events took place Vandeventer had no prior history.
"It doesn't matter what I say. It doesn't matter what the defense says. This trial is not about us," McIntosh noted. "It's about Randell Vandeventer and what he did to these kids."
In conclusion, Judge Martin determined the children were under the care and control of Vandeventer, and this was a crime of violence.
She noted while she understood imprisonment of Vandeventer would put a hardship on his family, the aggravating factors in the case far outweighed that issue.
Martin also noted she did not have the specifics of the claims against the Vandeventer's insurance policy so she could not take action.
Vandeventer has 30 days to file an appeal to the sentence.
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