Last Wednesday Clyde Delbert Clark, Wallowa, who had pleaded guilty earlier to Attempted Sex Abuse-1, was sentenced to six months jail, subject to 10 years post-prison supervision, by Wallowa County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Mendiguren. Clark will receive credit for almost a month served in jail following his arrest on Nov. 9, 2001.
As part of Clark's plea bargain, he agreed to a 100-month prison term if he violates the terms of his probation and it is revoked. This is above and beyond what would be normally imposed for the charge to which Clark pleaded guilty.
"I don't see a point in delaying treatment while I send you to prison," said Phil Mendiguren, while pointing out to the defendant, "You did some things that are terribly, terribly wrong ... You need to be accountable and society demands that there be punishment."
Clark was originally charged with four counts of Rape-1, Class A felonies, and four counts of Sexual Abuse-1, Class B felonies, covering a time period from September, 1999, to September, 2001. The charges involved a juvenile female who was under the age of 12 on the date of the earliest charges.
On Dec. 19 last year retiring Wallowa County Circuit Judge Eric Valentine withdrew his concurrence with a plea offer in connection with Clark's plea of guilty to attempted sexual abuse after reading a pre-sentencing report which had recommended 16 months in prison. He agreed to continue the sentence hearing so that another judge could impose the sentence.
Last week Clark's defense attorney Rick Dall requested a term of 60 days in jail for Clark, so he would be able to continue with his ongoing sex offender's treatment program. He said Clark, who reportedly suffers from a variety of mental and physical problems, had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disease.
He noted that his client is "looking at a very serious prison term" if he makes a mistake, and that the "probation will promote public safety." He said that in over a year that he's been out of jail on release, he has been totally compliant with all conditions and that he is currently receiving sex offender treatment through the "Choices" program. "There's no sex offender programs in prison ... and it would not promote reformation. What he needs by all accounts is treatment," said Dall.
"This is an extremely difficult case," said District Attorney Dan Ousley, saying that there are "problems as to testimony and proof" in prosecuting the case. He noted that the issues of protection of the public, punishment and treatment for the defendant needed to be considered. "We have resolved these issues the best we can in the negotiated plea agreement," said Ousley. The agreement was that Clark serve no more than a year in jail, and the district attorney recommended to the judge that Clark serve the entire year.
Because of the treatment issue, Mendiguren said that he would sentence Clark to 180 days, minus about 20 days already served.
Clark's defense attorney indicated that Clark had an isolated place outside Elgin he could live after his release, and the judge suggested that he live there or at a place approved by his probation officer under a sort of "self imposed house arrest." Part of the terms of Clark's probation is staying away from minors and places they are apt to frequent.
In his only comment during the sentencing hearing, Clark requested that he be allowed to continue with the "Choices," a sex offender treatment program based in Cove, as he sometimes has difficulty dealing with change.
While District Attorney Dan Ousley said he isn't entirely satisfied with the outcome of the case, he called the prospect of a 100-months in prison "a hammer over Clark's head." He added, "It's not enough, but it's the best I could get."