November 26, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

A 48-year-old La Grande man who pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual abuse involving young girls was sentenced Monday to 50 years in prison.

Bryant Miner pleaded guilty Friday to a variety of charges including rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of five girls, including one who was killed in an automobile accident more than four years ago.

In imposing the sentence, 10th Judicial District Court Judge Eric Valentine called Miners crimes horrendous.

There is no punishment adequate for people like you, Valentine said. I do not usually receive intellectual pleasure when I send people to prison. Generally, I feel saddened that men and women commit crimes that require them to go to prison.

But with you, it frankly gives me great pleasure to give you the maximum amount of time, and maybe you will die in prison.

Thats a terrible thing to tell somebody.

Valentine said that Miner could have been tried on 51 counts of sexual abuse.

You have forfeited the right to live in society, he said.

Miner made no comment about the sentencing. One victim and a parent who were in the courtroom during the sentencing declined to speak to the defendant. The victims asked that Miner not write an apology.

Assistant District Attorney Janie Burcart, who prosecuted the case, said she would speak for the victims. Burcart cited the bravery of one of the molested girls.

Because of her bravery, Bryant Miner will no longer molest a child, she said. Without that (the victims testimony), we would not be here today.

Burcart also called the crimes horrendous, disgusting and despicable, and she said prosecutors have found just the tip of the iceberg.

None of us believe we have gotten everything that happened, but we have done what we can, she said.

Miner pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree sodomy, four counts of sexual abuse, one count of first-degree rape, one count of second-degree rape, and one count of unlawful sexual penetration.

Miner cannot appeal the stipulated sentence.

One of the molested girls was killed by a drunk driver in 1997 while she was with Miner, and Valentine referred to that tragedy, although Miner was not accused of any violations directly relating to that incident.

In some respects (the girl) was freed from a nightmare life that you perpetrated, he said. In a sad way, her death got her away from your evil.