A Loveland man found guilty of two counts of sexual assault was sentenced to prison on Monday.
Terrence Paul Triffet, 56, was found guilty after a five-day trial in October, 20 years after the assault.
A female victim who was related to him told police Triffet sexually assaulted her when she was a child between 1999 and 2003, when Triffet lived in Fort Collins. He was charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child while in a position of trust, both Class 3 felonies.
Triffet was given an indeterminate sentence, with a minimum of four years and up to life in prison for each charge, to be served concurrently. After his release, he must also serve 20 years to life on parole.
The length of his sentencing will ultimately be determined by the Department of Corrections, according to Jodi Lacey from the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office.
Judge Michelle Brinegar said due to statute, her sentencing options were slim.
“This is a difficult case. Probation or the Department of Corrections, and nothing in between.”
Both Brinegar and Deputy District Attorney Brian Hardouin acknowledged that Community Corrections, a sentencing option designed to reintegrate offenders into the community, rejected Triffet.
Family members spoke highly of Triffet while the prosecution cited the reality of his charges.
Five family members gave statements on behalf of Triffet’s character, pleading that Brinegar sentence him to probation. His adoptive son called him a “role model.” His son’s girlfriend said “without Paul, in my life, I would be nothing.” Triffet’s wife said he has never lied to her and that he would pose no danger to the community.
Stephanie Stout, Triffet’s attorney, said she’s dealt with thousands of people in Triffet’s position and that he’s different than them all. She said the fact that her dog, who barks at everyone but stopped barking at Triffet after his second visit, was a sign that Triffet was different.
She acknowledged the court’s quandary between probation versus prison and said that “whether he’s guilty or not, locking him away is not helpful.”
Hardouin of the DA’s office noted The Sex Offender Management Board found that Triffet is “definitely under level-three denial.”
Triffet chose to make a statement, where he pointed out his support system in the room. “If given probation, I would be the model probationer. I’m very responsible, I know how to get along with just about anyone,” he said. “One thing that hasn’t changed is my desire to help others.”
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After hearing the statements, Brinegar took a 10-minute break to process everything before making a ruling.
When she returned, she said in all the letters and statements, everything was spoken from the heart. But she noted the other truth in the jury verdict.
“The court took into consideration the tone of Mr. Triffet in the (pre-sentence investigation and psychosexual) analysis. What did strike me was hostile, extreme denial, blaming everyone else,” she said. “Certainly I think Community Corrections took that into consideration.”
Brinegar also commended the victim’s bravery in reporting the assault.
“(The victim) came forward having everything to lose and nothing to gain. She maintained grace and dignity throughout.”
Brooklyn Dance is a breaking news reporter. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @hibrookIyn.
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