3 years in prison for sex assault

A New Matamoras man who had a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl was sentenced Monday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to three years in prison.

It was half the time the prosecution recommended for 29-year-old Richard L. Newlen, of 317 Hutchinson Road.

Newlen showed a callous disregard for the victim-going so far as to blame the young girl for his actions during a pre-sentence investigation interview, argued Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

“The defendant blames everything on a minor child. ‘It was her fault….If I did not go along with what she wanted she would tell the police and family,'” said Rings, paraphrasing comments Newlen made during the interview, which is conducted with almost all convicted felons before sentencing.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth also expressed shock at the lack of remorse Newlen showed during the interview.

“More appalling is the defendant’s response when asked, ‘How do you think the victim felt about your actions?’ to which he replied, ‘Don’t know. Don’t care,'” read Burnworth.

Newlen also denied that he had ever had sexual contact with the girl, despite lewd photographic messages and explicit text messages between the two that detailed their sexual encounters, said Rings.

Newlen was initially charged with a first-degree felony count of rape for his relationship with the young girl. However, he was allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges to spare the victim from testifying, Rings said during Newlen’s Aug. 14 change of plea hearing.

He faced five years in prison on a third-degree felony count of gross sexual imposition and one year on a fifth-degree felony count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, for receiving and storing nude photographs of the girl sent from a cell phone Newlen had gifted her.

Rings asked for the maximum six years, but Newlen’s attorney Rolf Baumgartel argued that nothing in Newlen’s case magnified its severity to the maximum punishment level.

“Nothing makes this case any worse or any better than similar cases…I don’t believe my defendant deserves the maximum sentence given his minimal past record,” said Baumgartel.

Besides traffic citations, Newlen has a 2010 charge of domestic violence, Burnworth noted.

Newlen himself apologized for his “wrong decisions.”

“Everybody makes mistakes. I apologize for the decisions I did make,” he said.

Newlen was arrested June 28 after the victim’s mother learned her daughter had been sexually involved with Newlen and contacted police.

He served 61 days in the Washington County Jail before posting bond.

Burnworth gave Newlen credit for those 61 days when sentencing him to three years on the gross sexual imposition charge and six months on the charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. Burnworth ordered the charges to run concurrently.