SOUTH BEND -John Boardway admitted he was guilty of molesting a 9-year-old mentally handicapped girl; however, he was given a plea bargain on Friday, July 20 and will only spend 41 months in prison for his crime.

The prosecutor opted to the plea bargain rather than go to trial because the little girl involved would have had to come to court to testify. If she didn't, a mistrial could have been declared and Boardway might have walked away free. Staff from Crisis Support Network were advocates for the victim and her family. Pacific County Superior Court Judge Mike Sullivan heard the proceedings in South Bend.

Boardway, who is from Long Beach, was the stepfather of the little girl, who according to authorities has the mental capacity of a 2-year-old. The state recommended 41 months in prison with 36 to 41 months of community custody and standard legal fees as well as restitution for the victim. This sentence is the maximum that can be given for this kind of crime with a plea bargain.

Boardway's crime is classified as a Class B felony. Upon his release from prison he will have to register as a sex offender for 15 years and there will be a no-contact order in place preventing him from communicating with or seeing the victim and her family for 10 years.

Sullivan said, "The legislation sets guidelines and the mandatory maximum sentencing I can issue is 41 months. If this case had gone to trial he could have gotten 41 months to 10 years. Life is not an option. In a report done by the Department of Corrections, it is stated that Boardway shows no remorse. With that sort of statement, I would have sent you off for a long time, but with the current legislation my hands are tied."

Crisis Support Network may be contacted by calling 800-435-7276 or their Long Beach office number is 642-0095.

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