Man accused of ‘atrocious’crime handed 25- to 50-year sentencePublished 12:38pm Thursday, April 15, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz called it one of the “most atrocious of all crimes” and called for Allen Hershberger to be put away for 25 years or more.
Circuit court judge Michael Dodge agreed and handed Hershberger a 25- to 50-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting two minors, one a three-year-old girl and the other a five-year-old boy.
The four counts of criminal sexual conduct stemmed from a series of incidents in which Hershberger, 27, of Edwardsburg, molested the two children between mid-2008 and January of this year.
The victims’ mother, whose name is not printed to protect the identity of the children, spoke at the sentencing.
“I have seen the fear in my children’s eyes,” she said. “Hearing their stories made me sick to my stomach. The beginning of their childhood has been haunted.”
The prosecutor said Hershberger would get a prison sentence, “but these children will be sentenced to lifetime in prison in their minds.”
Fitz said Hershberger regularly watched child pornography and then carried out the acts on the children.
Defense attorney James Miller reminded the judge that the sentence would do little to curb future sexual assault incidents by others.
“This sentence won’t stop the behavior of others,” Miller said. “It’s an internal offense that results in outward conduct.”
A stoic Hershberger declined to speak.
Before giving Hersberger his sentence, Dodge said: “This abuse of helpless children is appalling.”