Robert A. Bingham, 20, was sentenced on charges of enticing a minor on Friday. Bingham pled guilty to the charges on Feb. 1. He was accused of having sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl, when he was also a minor. Prior to sentencing, the victim and her mother read impact statements.
“I could not believe what Robert had done to me,” the victim said. She said she started turning away from her family and kept things inside. In her words, she “became someone else.” She is still occasionally scared to be alone.
“Now, I’m not dealing with this alone,” the victim said. “I am strong. I am loved.”
The victim’s mother described this incident as “an awful crime committed by a once-trusted family friend.” When her daughter told her of the abuse, she called Bingham.
“As he cried on the other end of the phone, I asked him what he had to say for himself,” she said. “I watched my daughter change right in front of me.”
The mother described her anguish, as she struggled to find out how she could have missed the abuse. The crimes impacted her entire family.
“People who commit these crimes don’t have it stamped on their forehead,” she said. “(My daughter) will continue to heal and move on with the help of her family and friends.”
The plea agreement Bingham, and his attorney, John Rigg, consented to included a recommendation by County Attorney Ed Bull for 10 years in prison, per count, to run consecutively, with financial obligations. Bull also recommended suspending the sentence in favor of five years’ probation, registration as a sex offender, a no contact order and going through the sex offender treatment program.
“We believe sex offender treatment would be beneficial,” Rigg said.
Bull told Judge Martha Mertz that the State felt this was appropriate, given Bingham’s age and criminal history. He believes this provides the best possible opportunity for rehabilitation by the defendant, while protecting the public.