Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Thomas Jack Junior molested an 11 year old girl in the foster system in Hoonah over a decade ago.
Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg denied Jack's attempt to have his case heard before a three-judge panel. The panel could have offered Jack early parole.
He has already served over a decade for the crimes committed in Hoonah. The case went to trial twice. Judge Pallenberg sentenced Jack after the second trial to 50 years in prison with 10 years suspended.
The defense argued that Mr. Jack has not been offered sex offender treatment. They said he could be eligible for early parole if he had received sex offender treatment.
The sister of the victim in the case wrote a letter that was read at the hearing. In it she stated she has lived in fear for over 10 years. She said she had never felt so much anger as when she saw Jack at a recent court appearance. She went on to state that she didn't like how that made her feel.
"I've decided to forgive and move on. I forgive you for me so I can free my soul and live the life I should be living."
The mother of the victim testified that she was proud of her daughter and how she has forgiven Jack. She told the court she wanted the case to be over so she could move on. "Enough is enough. It needs to come to a conclusion so we can all move on."
She said she was disappointed that Jack had not taken responsibility for his actions.
Jack, in testimony at the hearing, said he would not make many comments, because he has appeals pending.
Defense Attorney Richard Payne said Jack has done well in prison and deserves a second chance. He claimed Jack has gone to classes, bettered himself and has not had any disciplinary problems despite being beaten up and having his food stolen. He said 40 years was too long and noted some second-degree murder cases result in only 20 years in prison. He mentioned Native men have suffered greatly in the court system.
Judge Pallenberg shot back that the Native females that have been sexually abuse have also suffered.
Payne called the victim articulate, bright and courageous. 'I'm glad she is moving forward strong and positive."
Payne said it would not send a good message to inmates that do well behind bars to behave and better themselves if they can't get out of jail sooner for good behavior.
"The court's goal is not vengeance. He did this horrible thing but can be rehabilitated and be a positive member of society. Prison is the worst groundhog day you could ever experience."
District Attorney Angie Kemp said the foster child was vulnerable with no support from her biological family. She said the victim was molested several times and the court can't guarantee that Jack won't re-offend if he were to be released early.
"I think the victim deserves some finality in this," she added
Judge Pallenberg mentioned an old saying about Mary Lincoln and the assassination of her husband President Abraham Lincoln, "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
He added it appears Mr. Jack is a good person other than the foster child he molested.
Pallenberg said if Jack had taken responsibility for his actions he might have considered another ruling but added this was a harsh result for a harsh case.