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John Birman

John Birman

Judge Thomas McHill sentenced a Redmond man to 25 years in prison for sexually abusing three vulnerable girls, and called John Edward Birman, 70, a “predator.”

“That’s plain and simple,” McHill added.

McHill said it was difficult to listen to details the state presented during a hearing in Linn County Circuit Court on Wednesday morning, and that the girls would suffer the rest of their lives. He hoped the lengthy prison sentence would provide the victims some solace.

Prosecutor Ryan Lucke said one girl was abused three to four times a week for several years. With another victim, “The abuse happened so often she lost count,” Lucke said. The youngest girl said she was abused “a lot,” he added.

“It was just so heart-wrenching that they were in this situation and they didn’t have anybody they could go to,” Lucke said.

Birman, who knew the victims, pleaded guilty to first-degree sex abuse and second-degree rape, and no contest to two additional counts of first-degree sex abuse on Wednesday.

“Very early on, Mr. Birman, when confronted with these allegations, admitted to them,” said defense attorney Tyler Reid.

An emotional Birman told McHill he wishes the crimes never happened. “I know I’ve done wrong,” he said, his voice quaking.

As part of the negotiated settlement, 17 other sex crimes were dismissed.

Reid asked for a sentence of more than six years in prison for his client.

Birman was initially charged in January. The crimes took place between 2011 and October 2014 in numerous locations in Sweet Home and a Lebanon residence. 

Also as part of the plea deal, Birman will not face charges on a partial disclosure of sex abuse that came from a different victim. Unlike Wednesday’s case, Birman has adamantly denied those allegations, Reid said.

McHill gave Birman some credit for owning up to his crimes. But he added: “I don’t think that will ever make up for what happened in this case." 

Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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