An Arizona man was sentenced to what may amount to a life sentence in prison Tuesday for sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl.

Ronald Lee Crump, of Quartzsite, Arizona, pleaded guilty July 27 to four counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Per a plea agreement, five other felony sex charges were dismissed. At sentencing Tuesday the only part of the plea agreement that was unresolved was whether the 75-month sentences for each crime would be consecutive or concurrent.

Defense attorney Jamie Lee Gerlitz argued for concurrent sentences, which would give her 69-year-old client hope of one day walking out of prison.

Gerlitz added that given Crump’s age and health, living another 75 months was far from a certainty.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Stephen Forte told Crump he felt compelled to impose the most severe punishment in his authority, before handing down a 25-year sentence — the four 75-month terms running consecutively.

Gerlitz declined to comment on the lengthy sentence following the hearing.

Crump was arrested Aug. 2, 2016, after the victim told her mother that Crump sexually abused her years prior. The abuse started when she was 6 and occurred until she was 8 while living with Crump in La Pine.

The victim told investigators she would crawl into Crump’s bed following nightmares. During some of these occasions, as well as at times when she was sleeping in the living room, she would wake up to Crump touching her genitals. She recalled three such occasions, but said she spent years trying to block it out of her memory. She recalled waking up with her genitals hurting on multiple occasions.

Crump also has a first-degree sexual abuse conviction from the 1980s, and was required to register as a sex offender. Upon his arrest, Crump was also charged with failure to report as a sex offender.

In court Tuesday, Gerlitz said Crump admitted to the abuse.

“I have a problem,” Crump said in court. “I am a sex offender.”

Crump read a letter to his family, apologizing for the hurt he caused.

“I have a lot of blood in my heart for my family,” he said.

Before sentencing, Forte said it was telling that none of his family showed up. Despite Crump’s honesty about his crimes, Forte did not give any lenience.

“The court is not going to allow you to victimize any other children, do you hear?” he said to Crump before handing down the maximum punishment.

— Reporter: 541-383-0376, awieber@bendbulletin.com

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