A 75-year-old man pleaded guilty this week to performing oral sex on a girl younger than 10.
Duane Wesley Vanderyacht, who lived in Deming, accepted a recommended sentence of six months in jail and the rest of his life on probation.
Before his arrest in 2011, Vanderyacht admitted in a written statement he sexually abused the girl "three or four times" almost a decade ago, according to court records. He confessed to molesting the girl when they were alone.
The girl is a teenager now. She reported the abuse to law enforcement in April 2011.
Her mother sued Vanderyacht on her daughter's behalf a few months after the charges came to light. A $150,000 settlement was reached in July. That money will belong to the girl when she turns 18.
In the criminal case, Vanderyacht pleaded guilty Sept. 19 to first-degree rape of a child. He has not officially been sentenced before a judge yet.
According to the sentence recommended by prosecutors:
If he violates the terms of his probation, his sentence is elevated to a minimum of seven years and nine months in prison, with a maximum sentence of life behind bars.
He must undergo sex offender treatment for the next three years.
He can serve his jail time in a work release program or under house arrest.
He cannot have any contact with the victim.
Vanderyacht had no felony history.
He has owned Deming Tree Farms for 20 years.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2276.