David Q. St. James, 56, was charged with 12 counts of first-degree sexual abuse and 12 counts of first-degree sodomy.
The charges were originally levied against St. James in an indicted in November 2001 on charges that from 1996 to 2001, he sexually abused and/or sodomizing two boys over the five year period. The boys ranged in age from 8 to 14 during the period.
According to the judgment and sentencing document, St. James committed four counts in 1996, five counts in 1997, three counts in 1998, four counts of 1999, four counts in 2000 and four counts in 2001.
The 24 felony counts charged to St. James included six class A felonies, six class B felonies, and 12 class D felonies. Each class A count carried a penalty of 20 years to life in prison. Each class B count carried a penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison and each class D count carried a penalty of 1 to 5 years.
In pleading guilty to the charges, St. James could have been sentenced to more than 200 years in prison (the sentences will run concurrently for a total of 20 years).
Commonwealth Attorney Henry Johnson said he was glad the defendant sought a plea agreement because a jury trial would most likely have required the two boys to testify.
"Given his age and given that he has to served 85 percent of his sentence, he'll have to serve 17 years out of the 20. We had no specific dates on any of these incidents," Johnson said. "He probably won't have an easy time in prison."
St. James' mental stability had originally been called into question, but Johnson said the defendant was evaluated by psychiatric officials and deemed competent to stand trial even though he was diagnosed with mental problems.
After the original complaints were received in 2001, Johnson said St. James was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, which provided a substantial delay in the case.