Jared Michael Clark was sentenced to 31 years in prison after a jury last month found him guilty of two counts of first-degree sodomy and four counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a now-6-year-old girl last year.
He was sentenced to 300 months on each sodomy count that will be served concurrently, as will the four sentences of 75 months apiece to which he was sentenced for sexual abuse – the longest sentence delivered since 1997 when a man was sentenced to 200 years in a similar case.
Judge Jesse Margolis also ruled that Clark, 39, will have no chance to have his sentence reduced or for early release. Additionally, he must pay $25,000 in fines, $1,000 in attorney fees and register as a sex offender.
Clark indicated he wants to appeal.
Clark’s victim, who was 4 years old at the time, moved with her family to a trailer on the same property where Clark lived in Brookings. Four months later, while visiting her father in Gold Hill, the victim told him about Clark and “inappropriate touching.”
The Oregon State Police were summoned, conducted interviews and investigations and Clark was arrested.
When the jury found him guilty on all counts, Clark’s profanity-laden outburst earned him 210 days in jail for contempt of court. The remainder of that time – he has been lodged in the Curry County Jail since the verdict was read – will be added to the end of his prison sentence, Sheriff John Bishop said.
Monday, the courtroom was filled with members of his family and three of Sheriff John Bishop’s four deputies, a lieutenant and detective to provide order in case Clark erupted again. Six representatives of Bikers Against Child Abuse were also in attendance, as they were throughout the trial to provide support for the victim and her family.
Deputy District Attorney Jake Conde, who prosecuted the case, said the victim’s family chose not to attend the sentencing as they want to get on with their lives.
Defense attorney James Gardner said 25 years was an unfair sentence, as it was equal to the time sentenced to someone convicted of rape, murder or sexual penetration.
“It’s not proportional to murder, because murder would have taken her life,” he said. “It’s not proportional to rape because that’s more harmful than touch. It’s not proportional to sexual penetration because that’s more harmful than touch. Six touches with no criminal record to give him 25 years is shocking.”
He said that when the victim appeared in court last week, she appeared to be a “happy, well-adjusted” child.
District Attorney Everett Dial noted later that sodomy in this case didn’t imply in “the Biblical sense,” but “touching mouth to sex organ.”
Gardner cited another case in which a man received a lesser sentence for “touching,” but Judge Jesse Margolis noted that the victim was older and the touching was over clothing.
“Here, the variety of contacts with a 4- to 5-year old was oral copulation,” Margolis said.
Clark defended himself to the end, saying he felt he didn’t receive a fair trial and that he was “railroaded by this gentleman” – Gardner – and Curry County.
“I was not around,” he said. “My witnesses could not all speak. Evidence was not allowed to be presented.”
None of his family members in attendance would speak to the Pilot, but one said the “trial was a circus.”
“Jake did a tremendous job,” Dial said. “Lots of overtine, traveling to Medford to talk with the victim. He went outside the box. That’s necessary to do in a case like this. Curry County is fortunate to have him.”
Conde said the sentencing was bittersweet.
“He needed to go away, but I’m not happy some lady is not going to see her son for 31 years; I can’t help but feel bad for her,” he said. “I get no personal satisfaction from this; it’s what the law indicated. I’m happy the victim was believed, that the jury knew this isn’t the kind of thing a little girl makes up. We do what we do because it needs to be done. There’s always mixed feelings.”