US child molester gets life in prison

2012-01-14 10:09
Phoenix - A man authorities described as one of Arizona's most egregious serial child molesters was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison Friday for sexually abusing eight boys.

Arthur Leon Vitasek, 47, was found guilty in November of 26 counts that included sexual conduct with a minor, child molestation and public sexual indecency.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Reinstein sentenced Vitasek to 11 life sentences on 11 of the charges, and since the terms will be served consecutively, Vitasek will never be eligible for parole. Vitasek was sentenced to an additional 200 years in prison on the other counts.

The charges stem from the molestation of eight boys from 7 to 15 years old in Phoenix and the suburbs of Mesa and Paradise Valley over a 15-year period beginning in 1990. Police suspect there are more victims.

Vitasek often targeted financially struggling single mothers, helping them with material items and showering their sons with gifts and attention, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Vitasek would meet new victims through current victims and would abuse them in front of each other to make them think it was OK. He lived in the home of one boy and his family for a period of years.

Vitasek testified in court that three of the victims, all brothers, targeted him because they wanted to keep items that they had stolen from him, including a Corvette and a personal watercraft.

Vitasek also said he caught several of the other victims having sex with each other and they only accused him of molesting them because he threatened to report them, said Bob Dossey, Vitasek's Chandler-based attorney.

The most egregious

Dossey said Reinstein did not allow Vitasek to present that version of events in court.

"Arthur maintains that he is innocent," Dossey said, adding that he will appeal Vitasek's conviction.

Seven of the boys in the case gave emotional testimony during the two-month trial, describing the same type of so-called grooming behaviors by Vitasek and the same type of sex acts — testimony prosecutor Brad Astrowsky said was compelling to jurors.

"It creates an overwhelming picture of the type of person this defendant was," he said. "And that was a serial sexual predator of boys."

Astrowsky said that after receiving his sentence, Vitasek yelled at the victims in court, saying, "I'll be back!"

The other prosecutor in the case, Angela Andrews, said that in all her years of prosecuting sexual predators, Vitasek's case was "the most egregious".

Vitasek was arrested in Texas in September 2006 after being on the lam for more than a year and a half. "America's Most Wanted" featured him on the program numerous times before his arrest.

- AP
Read more on:    us  |  child abuse
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