A 77-year-old San Diego man who repeatedly sexually assaulted an underage girl living next door to him in the 1990s was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in state prison.

Charles Leroy Rutledge pleaded guilty earlier this year to four felony counts related to sexually abusing the victim, starting when the girl was 11 years old through age 15.

The victim, identified only as Beth R. in open court, said she reported Rutledge to the police this year and coaxed him into admitting to the crimes over the phone, in which he provided “confession on top of confession.”

Beth R., now 39, said, “No apologies were given, not that I wanted one, but more notably, no remorse was expressed. The tone was cavalier. `I did it. There was nothing wrong with it, and I don’t regret it.”‘

During her victim impact statement, she repeatedly referred to Rutledge as “the child rapist,” and said she didn’t believe she was Rutledge’s only victim.

Though she said the abuse caused her to suffer from PTSD and nightmares to this day, she said she was spurred by the need to face Rutledge and help bring him to justice, quoting writer and feminist Audre Lorde, “I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain.”

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Laura W. Halgren sentenced Rutledge to the stipulated 10-year term and ordered him to register as a sex offender for life.

“Do not be deceived by his age now,” Beth R. implored Halgren prior to the sentence. “My age did not matter to him then, nor does his age matter now.”

— City News Service