San Diego

The 57-year-old former operator of a state home care facility in Escondido was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison for violating the civil rights of two severely handicapped girls by sexually and physically abusing them while they were in his care. U.S. District Judge Judith N. Keep suspended two additional five-year sentences for perjury and mail fraud pending John Clair Brinkman's successful completion of five years' supervised probation after he is released. Prosecutor John Markham II said the abuses occurred an unknown number of times between September, 1982, and the following July. Brinkman pleaded guilty Oct. 9 and will receive credit for the four months he has served at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Five other mail fraud charges were dropped, which related to Brinkman's acceptance of $21,250 in state fees for caring for the girls. The victims are an 8-year-old paraplegic, and a 13-year-old quadriplegic.

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