Sex offender recieves 12-plus years in prison

March 02, 2002 12:00 am

A Union man found guilty in January of sexually abusing a young victim will spend 150 months in prison.

Circuit Court Judge Phil Mendiguren sentenced Duane Delepierre, 35, Tuesday to serve two concurrent 75-month terms for two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

Delepierre had been found guilty by a jury in a four-day trial that ended Jan. 17 on four of six counts against him. Two of the four guilty counts against him were dropped by the district attorneys office when it was learned that the child victim had just turned 14, at which time the charges would have become misdemeanors rather than felonies.

Delepierre was jailed following the jurys verdict. His sentencing had been delayed while his lawyer considered filing more court motions. Prior to being found guilty, he had worked at two La Grande-area grocery stores.

During Tuesdays sentencing hearing, members of Delepierres family, including his pregnant wife, spoke for him, asking for a lenient sentence.

The victim whom Chief Deputy District Attorney Janie Burcart said was wonderfully strong was unable to finish her prepared statement, which Burcart finished reading.

The young victim had started the legal proceeding by reporting what had happened to a Bible-school teacher and school officials.

Burcart prosecuted the states case against Delepierre, while Rick Dall defended him.

Judge Phil Mendiguren, in making his decision to impose the Measure 11 sentences consecutively rather than concurrently, explained that if he had heard the case, he would have found the defendant guilty and might have imposed even a longer prison term. He ruled that the sentences should be consecutive because the incidents had happened at different times, they showed Delepierres ongoing criminal intent, and also noted the devastating effect the abuse has had on the victim.

In addition to the prison sentence,Mendiguren imposed a $3,000 compensatory fine that is to go to the victim, as well as court fines. He also ordered that Delepierre register annually as a sex offender and submit to having blood drawn for testing.