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Child Molester, 78, Given 3-Year Term

A 78-year-old Santa Clarita man was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for molesting a young boy over a two-year period.

Robert H. Hughes, who pleaded guilty in May to charges of lewd conduct, a lewd sexual act and possessing child pornography, could have been sentenced to a maximum term of eight years.

The molestations, which began when the boy was 9, occurred while the youngster visited Hughes at his home between 1985 and 1987.

Defense attorney Elizabeth C. Lynch argued that Hughes should be spared imprisonment because of his age and because he is in poor health. Criminologist Matt Yeager testified for the defense before San Fernando Superior Court Judge John H. Major that Hughes might be subject to attacks in prison because he is a sex offender.

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“They are the lowest end of the totem pole,” Yeager said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Pamela Davis-Springer, who argued for a term of at least six years, said Hughes’ sentence was “woefully inadequate.”

The boy kept the molestations secret from his family until this year. Hughes was arrested at his residence March 28 and had been free on his own recognizance.


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