Ex-Senate candidate Bodenweiser sentenced to year of probation

GEORGETOWN — A former state Senate candidate who faced the possibility of life in prison on charges of repeatedly molesting a young, male neighbor more than 25 years ago was sentenced Friday to a year of probation for unlawful sexual contact.

Eric Bodenweiser

Eric Bodenweiser

Eric Bodenweiser, 56, was sentenced to one year in prison for each of the two misdemeanor counts of third-degree unlawful sexual contact. The prison time was suspended for one year of probation, during which he can have no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18 and he also must register as a sex offender.

Bodenweiser declined to speak at the sentencing hearing, which lasted less than two minutes.

“It was a fair resolution and a reasonable one for everybody,” defense attorney Joe Hurley said afterward.

Initially Bodenweiser was charged with multiple felonies in the sexual abuse case and could have spent the rest of his life in prison if convicted. He pleaded no contest last month to the two misdemeanor counts after a trial last year ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors sought to retry Bodenweiser but subsequently agreed to the plea deal.

Bodenweiser, backed by tea party activists, defeated an incumbent GOP senator in a 2012 primary but dropped out of the race just days before being indicted.

Bodenweiser was accused of repeatedly abusing the boy between October 1987 and August 1990, starting when the victim was 10 years old. The Associated Press does not routinely identify people who say they are sexual assault victims.

The victim, now in his late 30s, testified that the abuse left him scared and confused at a time when he was seeking encouragement and a male figure to bond with. The man described how he grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father, and how he began hanging out at the home of his neighbor Bodenweiser, helping take care of his dogs and watching him work on his race car.

But he said Bodenweiser began inviting him into his home and showing him pornographic movies, and that Bodenweiser then forced him to engage in sexual acts.

The victim said that after learning of Bodenweiser’s political victory, he decided to come forward and tell his story because he didn’t want Bodenweiser to be in a position where he could exert authority over someone else.

Two months after the mistrial, the victim, a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms, was arrested on charges of having a shotgun. He pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced to probation.

 

Randall Chase writes for the Associated Press

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