The 38-year-old son of a licensed baby-sitter has been sentenced to eight years in state prison for molesting and fondling neighborhood boys, including those under his mother's care.
Whittier resident David Toft had pleaded guilty in Norwalk Superior Court last month to one felony charge of molestation and three misdemeanor charges of fondling.
Prosecutors accused Toft of molesting seven boys, ranging in age from 8 to 14, from November, 1989, through January, 1991, when he was arrested. Toft lived with his mother, June Eileen Toft, who ran a state-licensed day-care center in her home. The state Department of Social Services suspended June Toft's day-care license after her son was arrested, and revoked it March 27.
Investigators said David Toft, an unmarried truck driver, would entice the boys into his garage with the promise of letting them play video games.
"He was like the neighborhood buddy," said one victim's mother. Like other parents, she was willing to be interviewed, but asked that her name not be used to shield her son's identity. "All the boys played at David's house because he had a computer system in his garage," she said.
"I lived two doors from him," said another parent. "I've known him all my life. Everybody liked him. He had a lot of friends."
June Toft was not charged. "She insisted she had no knowledge of the events," said Gregg Parker, senior staff counsel for the state Department of Social Services.
Toft had been licensed to operate a six-child day-care center since 1977.
In exchange for David Toft's plea, prosecutors dropped three other felony counts and three additional misdemeanor counts, Deputy Dist. Atty. Marilyn Seymour said.
The May 9 sentencing hearing before Judge Daniel Pratt lasted less than five minutes. The spectators included half a dozen victims' parents, who had come to every court appearance or hearing.
"I wanted to make sure that justice was served, though I don't feel he's serving enough time," one parent said. "But that's the way the system works."
When Toft pleaded guilty, another parent said, "he turned around and looked at me. He was crying and mouthed the words, 'I'm sorry.' At that moment, I was hating basically and feeling satisfied that he was going to jail."