SANTA BARBARA – Justice was delayed but finally served in Santa Barbara court for a Carpinteria man who fled the country in 1994 to escape being prosecuted for molesting a four year old girl.
65 year old Jeffrey Parish fled to Guatemala where he'd been living under a different name until the FBI and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department finally tracked him down and brought him back to the county last July.
Tears flowed in Santa Barbara court Tuesday morning as Parish faced his accuser and her family who've been waiting 18 years for justice to be served.
Parish was not allowed to be photographed by the media in court for his sentencing nor his victim Jane Doe, now 22 years old, or members of her family as they gave tearful victim impact statements.
"Now that I am older and more mature, seeing you now face to face is happiness to me and closure", Jane Doe said wiping away tears, "I'm happy because you are finally stopped, you can't hurt anyone anymore."
Before he was sentenced, Parish asked Jane Doe and her parents to stand and face him as he offered his own tearful apology.
"I am so sorry", Parish sobbed, "I'm not that same person anymore."
The judge sentenced Parish to a maximum of ten years and eight months in prison.
Outside court Jane Doe and her mother agreed to share their feelings of relief and their identities with reporters.
"Its closure, it's a good day", Brooke Parkinson aka Jane Doe said, "I feel good about it."
"Its going to feel different now", added Parkinson's mother Trudy Olmstead, "because of the truth and now we can let it go."
The District Attorney's office says it could not prosecute Parish for several other child molestations he's accused of because of the Statute of Limitations.
"We know of at least four others aside from Jane Doe, there are several that he molested for years prior to Jane Doe", said deputy District Attorney Benjamin Ladinig, "we are unaware of any in Guatemala simply because he was at large for 18 years."
Ladinig says the Statute of Limitations on child molestation has since been relaxed to allow victims to come forward and report crimes years after they happen.
The 10 year, eight month prison sentence is the maximum allowed for the crime involved, Parish will be eligible for parole after serving five years and four months.
He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and pay thousands of dollars in restitution to his victim and her family.
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:14 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:14:07 GMT
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