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Parents seethe as child sex cases resolved in court

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published January 17. 2014 2:00PM   Updated January 17. 2014 11:50PM

The mother of two young girls who were sexually assaulted by 36-year-old Christopher M. Diskin snorted when Diskin turned to the victims and apologized during his sentencing Friday in New London Superior Court to 10 years in prison.

The woman cringed when Diskin, 36, whose sentence includes 20 subsequent years of strict probation, offered his "sincere apologies" to her entire family and said he hopes to be forgiven. She and one of her children had just finished telling Judge Hillary B. Strackbein that Diskin's crimes had destroyed their family.

The tragic toll of child molestation on victims and their families was revisited a few moments later in the same courtroom when 21-year-old Shawn G. Anderson pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two little girls. This time it was a young victim's father who shook his head and blinked away tears.

Anderson will be sentenced in March to five years in prison, followed by 10 years probation.

Both of the convicted child rapists will be required to register as sexual offenders. They will be on strict probation, forbidden from having contact with minors and subject to electronic monitoring and oversight of almost every aspect of their lives, including where they live and work, what they look at on their computers and with whom they socialize.

The two cases were resolved with plea deals so the young victims would be spared from testifying about their ordeals at trial, according to prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman. Diskin was represented by attorney Donald J. DiFrancesca. Anderson's attorney was Kevin C. Barrs.

Ferryman, who has been prosecuting sex offenses for about 20 years, said she didn't fully understand the phrase "betrayal of trust" until she learned the facts of Diskin's case.

Diskin, formerly of Norwich, had pleaded guilty to having "extensive sexual contact" with the two girls when they were ages 10 to 12, according to Ferryman. Police began investigating after one of the girls disclosed the assaults to her mother. Diskin turned himself in and admitted to the crimes.

During her victim impact statement, the mother of his victims asked the judge to impose a standing criminal protective order that would forbid Diskin from having contact with her family for the next 50 years. She also said she was "indescribably proud" of her "beautifully strong, resilient children," who are moving on with their lives.

The judge told Diskin that what he had done was "indescribable" and wondered how the children would be able to trust anyone in the future.

"I hope you understand the depth of the pain you caused," Strackbein said.

Anderson's crimes occurred in Groton. Police began investigating in February 2012 after a 10-year-old girl disclosed that she had been raped when a medical professional treating her for a urinary tract infection asked if she was sexually active. During the investigation, another victim, age 11, came forward and said that Anderson had sexually assaulted her while everyone else in the home was sleeping.

His sentencing is scheduled for March 14. He has been held in lieu of $100,000 since Groton Town Police arrested him in April 2013.

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