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home : latest news : latest news April 18, 2015

1/4/2014 6:00:00 AM
PV man gets 13 years in child sex abuse case
Chaun Tyler Sewell
Chaun Tyler Sewell

PRESCOTT - Despite a doctor's claim that a man accused in a child sex case was unlikely to repeat his actions, a judge on Thursday said he was a threat to the community and sentenced him to 17 years in prison.

Police arrested Chaun Tyler Sewell, 20, of Prescott Valley on a felony count of child molestation in May 2013 after a man saw Sewell with his hand down a 4-year-old girl's pants, Prescott Valley Police Sgt. Brandon Bonney said.

When officers answered the call on Colt Lane, they learned that Sewell had inappropriately touched the girl, who was known to him, Bonney said.

The girl's father told investigators that he walked into a room and saw Sewell with his hand down the girl's pants, then a brief altercation ensued between him and Sewell, Bonney said.

Sewell admitted involvement in the offense and was arrested, Bonney said.

He was charged with two counts of child molestation, but pleaded guilty instead to two counts of attempted child molestation, each of which could have resulted in a 15-year prison sentence.

Thursday in court, defense attorney M. Alex Harris called Richard Lanyon, Ph.D., to the witness stand to testify about Sewell's mental state before Judge Celé Hancock sentenced him.

Lanyon, who specializes in clinical and forensic psychology and psychosexual evaluations, said Sewell showed signs of "inadequacy and inferiority," and had a lack of maturity and social skills.

"I think it has to do with his general (lack of) self-esteem, tending to not interact or join in the general flow of adolescent activities," Lanyon said. "His feeling of attractiveness to girls was nonexistent."

But, Lanyon added, Sewell is not a pedophile.

He said Sewell could learn to overcome his lack of basic social skills and recommended a minimum sentence in prison, saying he had already "punished himself."

In his cross-examination, Deputy County Attorney Bill Hughes pointed out that Sewell had told police that he had initiated the sexual contact, but the doctor's report didn't mention that fact.

"He did it," Lanyan said. "It's unclear whether he was invited, and in any case, a 4-year-old can't" consent to or invite a sexual act.

Hughes told Hancock that Sewell should be imprisoned for six to seven years.

"The conduct of the defendant in this case is egregious," he said. "The public must be protected. It appeared to this prosecutor that the defendant was trying to shove blame or guilt onto the victim."

Harris reminded Hancock that Lanyan said, "Chaun has a very low aptitude to re-offend" and suggested Sewell would not do well in prison, where "they're hazed, they're beaten, they're abused."

"I am bothered most in this situation by the disconnect between Dr. Lanyan's report and the defendant's statement that was attached," Hancock said, noting that, "although he is clearly immature... he takes no responsibility for what he did at all. He offers only excuses."

Sewell is a "risk to the community," Hancock said, because his actions "cannot be misconstrued as unintentional."

She imposed 13 years' imprisonment for the first count and lifetime sex offender probation to follow the prison time for count two. Hancock said she would recommend he receive "any kind of counseling possible."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, January 06, 2014
Article comment by: caroline redbrook

Crimes against children are so heinous that accused pedophiles like Austin Clem, Sylvain Kustyan, Jerry Sandusky, Jimmy Saville, etc. must be apprehended before they have years to continue to destroy young lives. Sandusky is now safely behind bars. But unfortunately, Kustyan, who has been formally charged with two counts each of 1st Degree Sodomy and Sexual Abuse of a ten-year-old little boy, fled to avoid imminent arrest. Kustyan, formerly of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Hermin/ Mazingarbe, France,as an English teacher, has led numerous groups of schoolchildren on trips to the US, the UK and Ireland.. Pedophiles condemn their victims to a lifetime of emotional and psychological trauma and often permanent physical ailments as well. Since the average pedophile has 300 different victims in their lifetime and since the recidivism rate among pedophiles is virtually 100% and since there is no effective treatment and no known cure they must be stopped ASAP!

Posted: Sunday, January 05, 2014
Article comment by: @@ Angie G

Thanks for the correction. 85 percent minimum served time in Arizona? Great.

Out further further west and in some other parts of America prison systems have an unwritten revolving door policy. All prisoners have to do is prove that they are rehabilitated and remorseful to get out of jail.

Posted: Sunday, January 05, 2014
Article comment by: susie guthrie

In Az sex offenders due flat time. No getting out early period. sg

Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014
Article comment by: why does this guy get prison and the others get probation

I am beyond confused with this. I see every week sex offenders getting probation and yet this guy gets prison. ...

Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014
Article comment by: @ Angie G.

Before you make a statement about him serving 2 or 3 years, please know what you are talking about. When you are sent to prison in Az. you are required by law to serve 85% of your sentance. There is no way in the world he is getting out any sooner that doing his 85%. If he gets into any trouble he may well do day for day his entire time. Hope that clears things up for you.

Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014
Article comment by: Angie G

He will not serve the full term. Sentencing is one thing, parole board is another. He may be out in 2 years or less than 5, or . . . . ?

Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014
Article comment by: This Doesn't Protect The Public

The only thing sentencing a 20-year-old to 17 years in prison is assure that he will be a criminal when he gets out. I think pedophiles are despicable, but if we were all sentenced to 17 years in prison for a momentary lapse in judgement there wouldn't be enough people left to pay for the prisons. And based off the criteria of what a sex-offender is today, almost everyone I knew in the 70s including my father and grandfather were sex offenders. (My mother and grandmother were both 17 when they got married.) We might want to consider therapy as a first option and prison as a last resort rather than the contrary.

Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014
Article comment by: Some people have no shame

And exactly how much was Richard Lanyon, Ph.D, paid for his "testimony"?

Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014
Article comment by: the wino

FINALLY! Judge Hancock, You got it RIGHT.
You have made the streets of P.V. safer for the young children to have a safe childhood.
thank you!

Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014
Article comment by: Protect the children

Yeah Hancock! Thank you for protecting the children!

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