A convicted child molester who had presented a highly unusual defense--he freely acknowledged that he molested boys but said he never did so in Los Angeles County--was sentenced to 70 years in state prison at a fiery court hearing Wednesday.
Richard Ausch, 54, a former Las Vegas boys club volunteer, had been convicted in June by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gordon Ringer of 29 sex molestation counts. Ausch, arrested in October, 1983, at a Holiday Inn in Van Nuys, was charged with having molested four boys whom he had escorted on field trips to such tourist attractions as Magic Mountain and Universal Studios during a two-year period.
Ausch had received permission to escort the boys, 9 to 15 years old, at his own expense, authorities said, from parents who could not afford to vacation in Los Angeles themselves.
In issuing the maximum sentence, Ringer launched a scalding broadside at Ausch, calling him the most "single-minded, completely self-centered, egotistical" defendant he has dealt with in 32 years as an attorney and judge.
"This is about as slick and sophisticated a plan, and as premeditated a plan as I've come across," the judge said. "The very gall and callousness of this. . . . This is just sickening."
Ringer added that although Ausch will eventually lose his sexual desires, "as long as he has . . . a will and a mind, he will be permanently dangerous to young pre-pubescent boys."
A Plea for Mercy
Ausch, a one-time New York boys camp director who moved to Nevada after a previous Santa Monica molestation conviction in 1976, asked the judge to "show mercy" either by allowing him to remain in the county jail or by granting probation.
At one point, Ausch told Ringer that he no longer posed a danger to youngsters because he had cured his problem by having learned how to masturbate while in county jail.
Ringer, however, was not swayed. "If you die in prison, so be it," he said. "You never deserve release."
"Whether we fall by ambition, blood or lust, like diamonds, we are cut by our own dust," Ringer said, quoting a line from a play, "Duchess of Malfi," by John Webster, a 17th-Century English dramatist.
'Never in California'
Ausch, who repeatedly yelled in court during his monthlong non-jury trial, said he would appeal Ringer's verdict because, "from the bottom of my heart, I swear to God, I did not touch those kids in California.
"I did molest children in Las Vegas," he added, "but never, never in California."
Ausch also disputed several of the counts concerning sodomy, saying, "I have never sodomized a boy in my life . . . not even in Las Vegas."
Deputy Dist. Atty. Sandra L. Buttitta, who prosecuted the case, said she was "very satisfied" with the sentence. "It in effect means he will not get out of prison, which is what I wanted."