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Molester receives 60-year prison sentence

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HILO » A man previously convicted of rape for molesting his stepchild in Arkansas has been sentenced to 60 years for similar crimes on Hawaii island.

In sentencing Gary Keith Vaughan, Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara noted his prior convictions for "almost identical crimes" in Arkansas, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Friday.

Jurors in June convicted the 58-year-old Vaughan of eight counts of first-degree sex assault, three counts of attempted first-degree sex assault and 10 counts of third-degree sex assault in the molestation of three former stepchildren on Hawaii island. In 1998 a jury in Booneville, Ark., convicted him of two counts of rape in the molestation of a stepdaughter.

Vaughan had appealed the sentence of two life terms, which the Arkansas Supreme Court denied. But a lower court judge ruled he had an incompetent lawyer and granted a new trial. The stepdaughter refused to testify again, and Vaughan pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in a plea deal. He served 20 months.

"Mr. Vaughan didn’t learn," Deputy Prosecutor Shannon Kagawa said. "He has a chance to change, but he didn’t take that opportunity."

One of his former isle stepchildren, now a 22-year-old father, asked the judge to impose a lengthy sentence. "If he gets out it could happen again," he said.

Vaughan was unapologetic when he spoke at his sentencing. He said he refused sex offender treatment because he would lose his job. His defense attorney, Keith Shigetomi, said his client was abused as a child by baby sitters and a maternal grandfather.

Information from Hawaii Tribune-Herald, www.hawaii­

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