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Elderly Man Gets to 7.5 to 20 Years for Sexual Abuse of Young Girl

August 18, 2017

Contact: Kristin M. McElroy, 215.348.6336, kmmcelroy@buckscounty.org

Tony Carter
           Tony Carter

A 73-year-old Warminster man who repeatedly tricked a small girl into oral sex and other sex acts was sentenced Thursday to serve seven and one-half to 20 years in state prison.

The abuse began when the victim, now 7, was 5 years old, and continued repeatedly for almost two years, Deputy District Attorney Kristin M. McElroy said in Bucks County Common Pleas Court.

The defendant, Tony Carter, “made these sexual acts into a game he would play with her to gain her trust and compliance,” McElroy wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

“It would be horrific if it happened just one time, (but) it was continuous over two years of her life,” McElroy told Senior Judge John J. Rufe. The trauma and psychological damage “is something that she is going to carry with her for the rest of her life, and she’s only 7 years old,” she said.

Sobbing and pleading not to be jailed for the rest of his life, Carter appeared at one point to be deflecting blame onto the victim, telling Rufe that “she came up with the game.”

Carter had pleaded guilty on May 8 to two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child and one count of unlawful contact with a minor. Rufe had deferred sentencing to allow for Carter to be evaluated by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board.

The evaluation concluded that Carter met the criteria to be declared a sexually violent predator, finding him to be a pedophile attracted to young girls. The report said that Carter was highly likely to try to sexually assault another female child, McElroy said.

Carter did not contest those findings, and Rufe declared him to be a sexually violent predator, which subjects Carter to lifetime registration with police and other monitoring conditions.

McElroy’s sentencing memorandum said that Carter had been convicted in Connecticut about 25 years ago of “dangerous acts with a minor.” He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to participate in sex offender treatment, the memo said.

McElroy also said that a number of other females in other states have reported being sexually assaulted as children by Carter over the years, although he never was charged in those incidents.

The victim now lives with her grandparents, who told Rufe that she shows symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome, has reverted to wearing diapers, suffers from constant anxiety and nightmares, has begun showing cruelty to her younger brother and pets, displays inappropriate sexual behavior and, in the words of her grandmother, “knows no boundaries.”

“She is exhausted and will not let herself fall asleep. She would hide behind her dresser or the door,” her grandmother told the judge. “She has placed pins (point straight up) on the floor and on her mattress as a way to protect herself. She pulls the covers up over her head or places her stuffed animals around her head to hide among them. She tosses and turns all night long and talks in her sleep.”

The grandmother said she and her husband take the girl to weekly therapy sessions and are trying to get her into additional behavioral therapy. “It is heartbreaking to know that I cannot make her better,” she said.

Yet, the grandmother called the child, who was not present in court, “my hero. Today she puts a sexual predator behind bars where he cannot hurt her anymore.”

She asked Rufe to sentence Carter to “the same life he gave to my granddaughter….I wish for him to live a life of isolation and loneliness. I wish for him to live in a place where he is scared to close his eyes every day for the rest of his life.”

Under questioning by defense attorney David Zellis, Carter told Rufe that he had been sexually assaulted at age 11 by an adult woman in his Indiana neighborhood, and that two brothers and other family members had been sexual assault victims or had been convicted or accused of committing sexual assaults.

“There was something going on in Indiana” in which Carter “was victimized as a young child also,” Zellis said. He asked Rufe to consider that Carter took responsibility for his crimes, pleaded guilty and did not force the victim to testify in court.

“I regret the impact that this has had and will continue to have” on the victim and her family, Carter said. “I’m so sorry for what I did.”

Carter said he had long known he was sexually attracted to young girls and that his wife had even scoured the internet looking for ways of getting him help.

“You knew you had this problem,” Rufe responded. “It was a serious problem, and you never looked for help.”

“I thought that I could handle it myself,” Carter said.

“Or,” the judge said, “you thought you wouldn’t get caught.”

Approved for release by Thomas C. Gannon, Deputy District Attorney.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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