By Lily Raff
Published: March 20, 2004
LA PINE – A La Pine man, formerly a special education assistant at La Pine Elementary School, was sentenced Friday to more than eight years in a state prison after pleading guilty to two counts of sodomy.
Brian James McFarlane, 38, was charged by a Deschutes County prosecutor on Jan. 8 with six counts of sodomy in the first degree, six counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and one count of sexual penetration with a foreign object in the first degree. All of those crimes are felonies. He pleaded guilty to two counts of sodomy on Feb. 24.
“I’m not trying to make an excuse, your honor,” McFarlane said of his crimes to Judge Alta Brady, who presided over the sentencing hearing in Deschutes County Circuit Court. “My choices were just that, they were choices.”
The charges were for incidents that occurred to two victims over a three-year period that ended in 1998, Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney Victoria Roe told the court.
McFarlane worked as an educational assistant in the special education program at La Pine Elementary School from 1996 to 2001. The victims are not students at the school.
McFarlane told the court that he agreed to – and passed – a polygraph test to prove that he did not abuse any additional victims.
McFarlane called the state Department of Human Services in January and reported his own offenses, Roe said.
Because of the charges, Oregon law required that McFarlane receive a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years and four months in prison, Roe said. She told the court that in most cases, the state recommends consecutive sentences of 100 months for each victim. In this case, however, because McFarlane turned himself in and pleaded guilty, the state sought only the minimum 100-months sentence.
Judge Brady said although she appreciated that McFarlane came forward and took responsibility for his actions, that did not lessen the gravity of his crimes.
“Mr. McFarlane, the conduct that you engaged in was horrendous… . I do not have any qualms about imposing a mandatory minimum sentencing in this case. I think it is appropriate,” Brady told the convicted man.
Angela Lee, McFarlane’s defense attorney, fought back tears as she left the courtroom Friday morning.
“Measure 11 is horrible,” Lee said outside the courtroom, referring to the state law that imposes sentencing requirements. “It is not meant for this.”
McFarlane declined to comment after receiving his sentencing.
Lily Raff can be reached at 541-617-7836 or firstname.lastname@example.org