Medford man sentenced to prison term for child sexual abuse at YMCA

Medford man sentenced to prison term for child sexual abuse at YMCA

Amentally and physically challenged Medford man has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for sexually abusing two boys at the YMCA.

Timothy Andrew Barnard, 30, pleaded guilty Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, five counts of first-degree encouraging sexual abuse and five counts of possession of child pornography.

Judge Lorenzo Mejia sentenced Barnard to two consecutive 75-month sentences for the sex abuse charges. Mejia also gave Barnard concurrent sentences of 40 months for the encouraging sexual abuse charges and 14 months for the pornography charges.

"This is a tragedy for everyone involved," said Mejia. "I don't think anyone, including the court, is comfortable with what we are doing today."

Prosecutor Adam Peterson said Barnard touched the genitals of two boys, both younger than 10, in the shower area of the YMCA between the dates of May 10, 2006, and Oct. 31, 2007. Barnard disclosed his actions to a family member who reported the information to the police. During the investigation, images of child pornography were discovered on his computer, Peterson said.

Peterson said the YMCA cooperated fully with the investigation and worked with the detectives. The victims and their families did not wish to attend Barnard's sentencing.

Barnard's public defender, Andy Vandergaw, said his client, who suffers from a host of physical and mental challenges, was tested by private and state mental health experts.

The experts concluded Barnard was capable of comprehending the court's proceedings. But they also concluded that Barnard suffered from "substantial difficulties."

Vandergaw said Barnard admitted his actions to a family member because he suffered remorse after touching the boys. It was Vandergaw's hope that Barnard, who originally faced sodomy charges and dozens of encouraging child sex abuse charges, could be remanded to the state hospital for treatment instead of prison. The plea agreement offers resolution for Barnard and protection for the public, but no treatment for Barnard.

"This is a compromise solution to a bad case," Vandergaw said. "My client knows he did wrong. But I believe he is a sympathetic figure."

Prior to handing down the sentences, Mejia carefully questioned Barnard, asking whether he understood the plea agreement.

"I understand why I am here," Barnard said slowly. "I don't understand why people don't understand me."

Barnard later started to quietly cry when stating he didn't understand why he couldn't go to the state hospital.

After sentencing, Barnard's mother, sister and aunt stood on the courtroom steps and expressed sadness for their family member and for the victims. None of them wanted to be identified.

His mother said Barnard had been in "special education classes" for his entire schooling. He is physically, mentally and emotionally compromised, she said.

"He suffers from hemorrhagic migraines that make him almost like he's in a coma," she said. "They make him hear voices and see things."

Barnard's aunt said her nephew was like a child locked in a man's body.

"He just likes everyone and wants everyone to like him," she said.

Peterson said Barnard did not qualify for admittance to the state mental hospital for care and treatment under the facility's current guidelines and according to state officials.

"I think this resolution is not ideal," Peterson said. "But I believe, ultimately, that it is in the best interest of the community and of the victims."

As part of the plea agreement, Peterson had Barnard sign away his right to appeal or to file suit against the victims.

"I did that to protect the victims," Peterson said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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