MOUNDSVILLE - John Tedrow "crossed unspeakable barriers" when he filmed himself having sex with an underage girl and repeatedly abused another, said Circuit Judge David Hummel just before he sentenced the Moundsville resident to 37-65 years in prison Wednesday morning.
Tedrow, 32, pleaded guilty in Marshall County Circuit Court in July to two counts each of sexual abuse by a custodian, third-degree sexual assault and use of a minor in filming sexually explicit material. Hummel stopped just short of handing down the maximum penalty allowed by law, which would have been 42-70 years behind bars.
Hummel said Tedrow will receive credit for more than six months he has spent in jail since his arrest in February following the Moundsville Police Department's investigation of a report that Tedrow used a cell phone to record himself having sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Photo by Ian Hicks
John Tedrow, right, listens as Circuit Judge David Hummel sentences him on six counts of sex crimes Wednesday in Moundsville. He is accompanied by assistant public defender John Anderson.
The teenager, who was identified by a distinctive tattoo, confirmed she was the girl in the video and told police that Tedrow had been sexually assaulting her for about a year. Police also interviewed a 16-year-old girl who told police Tedrow had her perform oral sex on him at least 20 times between 2006 and 2008.
On Wednesday, Tedrow apologized for the harm he has caused and said he was "willing to do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't happen again." His lawyer, assistant public defender John Anderson, argued for a lesser sentence to give Tedrow the opportunity to seek help and live a normal life.
"I think it should be noted that Mr. Tedrow cared for these girls ... putting aside the damaging conduct," Anderson said. "My understanding is that the girls still have positive feelings toward him, their victim impact statements notwithstanding."
Those victim impact statements were not read in court Wednesday, but they were considered by Hummel, along with letters received from Tedrow's grandmother and sister on his behalf.
But Marshall County Prosecutor Jeff Cramer was firm in recommending Hummel impose the maximum sentence, calling Tedrow a "pedophile" who doesn't deserve the opportunity his attorney was seeking for him.
"Why should he be given that opportunity when he's stolen it from these girls and from those who care for them?" said Cramer.
Regarding a psychiatric evaluation that labeled Tedrow a "moderate" risk to reoffend, Hummel said "moderate is not an acceptable risk in our community." He also called a prior statement by Tedrow that his actions stemmed in part from his mother's refusal to allow him to have friends while growing up "bizzare."
"He betrayed an ultimate trust. He crossed unspeakable barriers," Hummel said.
Hummel ultimately sentenced Tedrow to 10-20 years on each count of sexual abuse by a custodian, one to five years on the sexual assault counts and seven years, six months on each count of using a minor in filming sexually explicit material. He ordered those sentences to run consecutively, for an effective penalty of 37-65 years in prison.
Tedrow could have received up to 10 years on each of the filming counts, but Hummel said he took into account the fact that Tedrow chose to plead guilty rather than exercise his constitutional right to a jury trial and force his victims to testify in open court about what they had gone through.
If and when Tedrow is released, he will have to register with the West Virginia State Police as a sex offender for life, and he would be subject to supervision for 50 years following his release.