Admitted child molester Donald Binette apologized Thursday morning to his two underage female victims and their families, but it wasn't enough to convince a visiting judge not to send him to prison.
Cuyahoga County Judge Thomas P. Curran sentenced Binette to 14 months in prison after hearing a passionate plea from the mother of one of his victims.
Binette, a father of three who is the adopted brother of Erie County Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette, pleaded guilty June 11 to two counts of felony gross sexual imposition for sexually assaulting the two girls, one of whom was his family's 15-year-old babysitter.
The other was a 10-year-old friend of his daughter.
Medina County Special Prosecutor Joseph Deangelo, who served on the case, said Binette rubbed his hand against the clothed breast of his 15-year-old victim, who was sleeping at the time, and touched the genital area of his 10-year-old victim.
Curran also ruled that Binette register as a sex offender for 10 years and be monitored five years once he's released from prison.
The mother of Binette's 10-year-old victim, who was present for the court hearing, said she was satisfied with his sentence.
"He's going to be incarcerated and he will no longer be around children," she said. "He finally gets to understand the severity of his actions."
Binette's wife, Kathy, witnessed her husband's sentencing and his friend asked the judge not to lock him up. His wife cried outside the courthouse after the ruling.
"He didn't do anything," she said. "It's one thing touching a kid on the shoulder versus trying to penetrate them. He's got three children of his own. What about them?"
Curran said in his ruling that both Binette's victims suffered psychological damage from what he did.
The 10-year-old victim's mother said her daughter is doing fine now day-by-day.
Deangelo said Binette will be eligible for judicial release after he serves 30 days, but Deangelo's office made no deals to recommend Binette be let out early.
"There's a 95 percent chance we're going to oppose (any judicial release)," Deangelo said.
He said the plea agreement saves Binette's victims from the pain of having to testify against him.