BLOOMINGTON — A Colfax man was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday for sexually abusing two girls who reported his sexual attacks on them to authorities last year.
Dennis Farney pleaded guilty in May to aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two minors who are now adults in exchange for dismissal of one count of predatory criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
In his remarks to Judge Robert Freitag before the sentence was imposed, the 55-year-old sex offender turned to the two victims in the courtroom and apologized.
"I truly want to apologize for what has happened," said Farney.
Freitag said the accusations that surfaced more than a decade after they were committed "illustrates very clearly that this a very private crime, a very secret crime."
The evidence also shows that Farney's victims "are still suffering greatly from his selfish, despicable behavior," said the judge.
Farney also received a seven-year concurrent term on a second count of sexual abuse.
Assistant State's Attorney Jacob Harlow asked for 10 years for Farney on one count and a concurrent seven years on the second charge, arguing that the single incident of abuse reported by one of the victims and the years of molestation of a second minor girl traumatized the victims in ways that left them emotionally scarred and in need of counseling.
"This is not behind them. This is not past them," Harlow said of the abuse.
Defense lawyer Carey Luckman sought a term of probation for Farney. Luckman argued that Farney is unlikely to commit a similar offense and has been a respected member of the community before the criminal charges were filed.
In a July 7 hearing related to Farney's sentencing, both victims testified about the trauma they have suffered as a result of the abuse from the sex offender with whom they were acquainted.
"I will never, ever forgive you. I wanted you dead. Now I want you to suffer," one of the women told Farney through heavy sobs.
Anger and depression came after years of sexual abuse starting when she was about 10 years old, the second victim told the judge.
"I don't believe he should be out living his life while we're trying to get by, day by day ... it's people like him that make the world unsafe," said the woman.
Three witnesses testified on Farney's behalf.
Brandan Bose, who worked with Farney at a Colfax grain company, called Farney "the kind of guy you look up to. I trust him as far as anyone could trust another person."
Dallas Bose, who served on the local fire department with Farney, called the defendant "number one."
When asked about the charges against Farney, Bose said, "I'm surprised at that part, but I still feel the same way I always have about him."
Such testimonials expressing disbelief at unacceptable conduct are not uncommon in sex cases, noted the judge.
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