Convicted of sexually abusing a 7-year-old child, a 72-year-old Lander man was sentenced Thursday afternoon in Fremont County District Court to between 40 and 50 years in prison.
A jury convicted Donald Floyd Detimore of first-degree and third-degree sexual abuse of a minor in July following a three-day trial.
He originally faced more charges and could have had two more trials for allegedly molesting two more victims over the course of 46 years, with the earliest victim being about 5 years old during the reported offense.
But rather than go through two more trials, the other victims agreed to testify at Detimore’s sentencing hearing instead.
“What he did to me was unspeakable — and I didn’t speak about it for years,” said a woman, now about 51 years old, who stood in a crisp white blazer at the podium before Fremont County District Court Judge Jason Conder.
Detimore sat to her left, bound in shackles, wearing orange Crocs and orange sweats.
Detimore molested her by touching her vaginal area her between the ages of 4 and 6 in the late 1970s, the woman’s testimony and court documents relate.
At age 12, she told her parents what had happened, and while it relieved her not to carry the burden alone anymore, it devastated them, she said.
The Department of Family Services interviewed her and had her show on a doll where Detimore had touched her, she said.
“Did he ever feel remorse or shame?” she asked. “I was the one who felt shamed and dirty.”
Slap On The Hand
A prosecutor at that time charged Detimore with fourth-degree sexual abuse, but the case was dropped when Detimore agreed to go through counseling, the woman said.
“He was given a slap on the hand. It felt like a slap in my face,” she remembered, describing how scathed and foolish she felt for having come forward at all.
Then when Detimore fell under investigation last year, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Juliet Fish tracked this woman down and asked if she wanted to come forward once again.
The woman thought carefully about it, knowing it would implode her lifelong friendships with some of Detimore’s family members, she told the court.
But believing she could help Detimore’s other victims, a young woman now in her late teens and a 39-year-old woman, she chose to come forward.
Cowboy State Daily has chosen not to publicly identify the sexual abuse victims in this case.
Day In Court
Saying she’d already had her “day in court” by going through the trial, the victim now in her late teens opted not to testify at Thursday’s sentencing hearing. Her dad spoke on her behalf, asking for the maximum sentence for Detimore.
The 39-year-old woman who reported that Detimore had abused her when she was 16, did testify, through tears.
She said that Detimore had professed to love her, but it was in fact the idea of her innocence that he loved. And he ruined various sharp impressions for her forever by making them “triggers,” she said, like the scent of coffee with cream, the sight of Lander’s Red Canyon, custom-burned CDs.
Standing By The Not-Guilty Plea
Detimore’s defense attorney Devon Petersen was not optimistic, as Judge Conder tends to sentence child sex abusers harshly.
“We’re under no illusion about what is going to happen here today,” said Peterson.
He said Detimore has been a beloved father and a valued employee with no criminal history. Also, he still stands by his not-guilty plea, said Peterson.
“I realize saying that probably does not sway the court,” Peterson said.
Indeed, the sentence Conder imposed reflects roughly the maximum under the law, and certainly more than Detimore can fulfill with his lifetime: between 40 and 50 years for first-degree sexual abuse and between 10 and 15 years for third-degree sexual abuse, to run concurrently, plus $4,322 in restitution.
When it was his turn to make a statement, Detimore said he did not wish to.
Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun, the prosecutor on the case, emphasized the court’s duty to craft sentences to deter future criminal conduct.
“I know one thing for certain, Donald Detimore must never be able to hurt another child again,” said LeBrun.
For The Whole World To Hear
Soft of tone, but in severe terms, Conder spoke to Detimore.
“This case involved the most vulnerable of victims,” he said. “A little girl.”
The judge said he could not imagine what the girl went through, explaining at a public trial the sexual abuses she endured, which included Detimore fondling her genitalia.
“(It was) manipulating, power and control,” said Conder. “The repeated attempts to cover up: ‘Don’t tell. No one will believe you.’”
Detimore’s exertion of power and authority over the little girl was mighty enough; he never needed to use physical violence, said Conder. He continued, saying such a crime is on par with murder, because it haunts a victim for her entire life.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.