Published on March 4th, 2013 | by Daniel Perlman0
Nampa day care worker sentenced to 32 years in prison for molesting children
Joshua Curtis Ritchie, 23, commended the young boys he molested for doing something he never had the courage to do: speak out about sexual abuse.
In a statement read at his sentencing Thursday in 3rd District Court in Canyon County, Ritchie tearfully apologized for abusing the boys. But he emphasized that he wasn’t making excuses.
“That man may have warped my way of thinking, but I know it was still my decision to act,” Ritchie said. “I really want to fix myself.”
Ritchie worked at Cornerstone Child Care, Idaho Arts Charter School and the Nampa School District before he was arrested in August and accused of molesting children beginning as early as 2009. He’s been in jail since.
His victims were between 4 and 14. Their parents packed Judge Bradley Ford’s courtroom for Thursday’s five-hour hearing. Some spoke emotionally about the devastation Ritchie caused and said they fear their children will be unable to form normal relationships.
Many wept as Deputy Prosecutor Erika Kallin detailed the abuse and described how Ritchie often used games, snacks and other incentives to get close to his victims.
A Boise police officer whose son was molested by Ritchie cried as he described his dedication to his job of keeping the community safe and the devastation in knowing he’d “failed in his most important job as a father.”
He said his son feared day care and cried when he had to go.
The Idaho Statesman is not naming the parents who spoke at the hearing to protect the identity of their children.
Police started investigating Ritchie in August after a 5-year-old boy told his mother about the abuse, Kallin said.
Kallin called for Ritchie to receive 42 years to life in prison while Ritchie’s lawyer, Chad Gulstrom, asked for 10 to 25 years. A court-assigned evaluator classified Ritchie as a pedophile with an interest in pornography and no normal sexual experiences.
Ford said a sentence of at least 32 years protects the public, punishes Ritchie and serves as a deterrent.
Ritchie will be required to register as a sex offender if he’s released and is to pay each victim $5,000.
Ritchie’s father, Phillip Ritchie, said his son was molested by a relative and he decided not to pursue charges – a decision he regrets.
He did not ask for leniency for his son and said he understands the anger the victims feel.
Another father whose sons were molested by Ritchie cried as he recalled his own molestation as a child and how it affected him later.
Lisa Tuohy owned the day care that employed Ritchie. She wept Thursday as she described the devastation Ritchie caused her community, business and family.
Tuohy said she’s been left to pick up the pieces of Ritchie’s actions while he’s been in jail.
Ritchie often babysat autistic, adopted boys whom he knew had already been abused, Kallin said. He molested them repeatedly.
Ritchie was formally charged with nine counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, though authorities say he molested at least 24 boys. He pleaded guilty to those charges, one count of sexual abuse of a minor in December, and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child for possessing sexual images of boys. His victims were not in the photos.
Source: Idaho Statemen “A former Nampa day care worker, sentenced to 32 years in prison, hears from his victims,” March 1, 2013.