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Molester Who Fled State Is Denied Reduction in 8-Year Sentence

Times Staff Writer

A convicted child molester who abducted his son and fled from the state three years ago was denied a reduction of his eight-year sentence Wednesday by the judge who had previously lowered his bail.

Robert Marquis, 36, of Laguna Hills told Superior Court Judge Robert H. Green from a wheelchair Wednesday that drugs and alcohol had been the cause of his troubles and that he had now overcome those problems.

Green, in denying the request for a reduced sentence, made no reference to Marquis skipping bail, but he also made no comment about Marquis’ emotional plea for leniency.

Bail Was Reduced

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Three years ago, after Marquis had been arrested for sexually molesting his 11 year-old stepdaughter, Green granted the man’s request that his bail be reduced from $50,000 to $20,000. Marquis bailed out of jail and pleaded no contest to four counts of sexual molestation, but Green granted him an extra 30 days before sentencing to get his affairs in order.

Marquis then fled the state with his 2-year-old son, Nathan. Earlier, Marquis had won overnight visitation rights with the boy from another judge, and he ran off with the boy on the first weekend of the new arrangement. He called his estranged wife and told her that he would not return the boy until the molestation charges against him were dismissed.

Arrested in North Dakota

Marquis was arrested five months later in North Dakota by FBI agents, and the boy was returned unharmed to his mother.

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The mother, Cherlyn Gadberry, who has since divorced Marquis, testified Wednesday that her daughter has had an uphill struggle to recover since she was molested and that she was doing fine until a short time ago, when she learned that her stepfather was trying to get a reduced sentence.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jan Sturla said later that his office has checked Marquis’ medical records and did not find any reason for him to be in a wheelchair. Marquis was not in a wheelchair when arrested by FBI agents.


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