NEWTON, N.J. » A judge showed sympathy for a northern New Jersey man who said he snapped while watching the sexual abuse trial of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and killed a former Boy Scout leader who allegedly abused him.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Critchley on Thursday sentenced 50-year-old Clark Fredericks of Stillwater to five years in prison. With time served, Fredericks will be eligible for parole in nine months for the 2012 provocation manslaughter that claimed the life of 68-year-old Dennis Pegg. Fredericks pleaded guilty on June 17.
“I don’t feel like I am sentencing someone who was committed to a criminal lifestyle,” Critchley said. “What happened to him as a child made him snap.”
Fredericks said he was sexually assaulted by Pegg from the time he was 8 years old until he was 12. He said Pegg’s actions were known but “nothing was done.”
He said he got drunk with his friend, co-defendant Robert Reynolds, snorted cocaine and attacked Pegg at his Stillwater home on June 12, 2012 with a hunting knife that Pegg had given him. Authorities said Pegg was stabbed 30 times.
The judge, prosecutor and defense attorney agreed there was overwhelming evidence that Pegg had abused Fredericks. Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller said that people made complaints against Pegg 30 or 40 years ago, but there was never a “viable prosecution.”
“People recanted,” Mueller said.
Pegg’s family acknowledged there may have been some wrongdoing. But they said Fredericks took the law into his own hands, calling him a “self-appointed judge, jury and executioner.”
Fredericks said he doesn’t recommend that anyone follow in his steps.
“No matter how painful it may seem, I urge everyone to speak out about abuse,” Fredericks said.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 on 45 counts of child sex abuse.