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‘Twisted man’ jailed for sexually abusing girl

A “sick, twisted man” who sexually abused a girl for a decade has been jailed for three years.The victim said Terrence Pantry, 64, began molesting her when she was just eight years old.The girl who cannot be identified by the media said she believed Pantry deserved a 15-year sentence.She told Magistrates’ Court in a statement: “I’m sure I was a happy fun loving little girl until Terrence Pantry started to molest me.”However, she said, she turned into an “angry young girl” after the abuse began.“I had an attitude every single day and no one understood why, and I couldn’t tell them because I was too ashamed of what people would think,” she added.“It saddens me to think that my only childhood memories are of a sick, twisted man doing nasty things to me for his own pleasure.”She also told the court: “This happened over a period of ten years and I have thought about what he has done to me every day of my life, and his actions deserve the same punishment. I don’t know if I have the right to determine his sentence, but if I could, I would sentence him to a minimum of 15 years in jail.”She added: “If he gets the time which I know he deserves, it will send a message to people like him who prey on innocent children for their sexual gratification that they too will face significant jail time.”Summarising the evidence in the case, prosecutor Larissa Burgess said the girl reported Pantry, of Idle Acres Road, Smith’s, to the police earlier this summer.She told them he touched her vagina several times over the years. He was arrested and declined to comment when interviewed.The court heard from defence lawyer Saul Froomkin that Pantry made an attempt to take his own life after he was charged with the crimes. He pleaded guilty to five charges of touching the victim for a sexual purpose.Prosecutors discontinued a charge of having unlawful carnal knowledge. The victim agreed to this so she could be spared the ordeal of having to testify in court.The maximum sentence Pantry who is retired, with no previous convictions could have been given at Magistrates’ Court was five years. The three-year sentence was meted out by Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner on Friday. It was the length requested by prosecutor Cindy Clarke in her pre-sentence address to the court.Pantry was the first offender sentenced at Magistrates’ Court since a ruling by Chief Justice Ian Kawaley that those guilty of sexual exploitation of young people should face an immediate custodial sentence on a sliding scale of two to 18 months.The Chief Justice said the sentence should be longer if there are aggravating factors such as the offender being much older than the victim, being in a position of trust or acting with premeditation.Speaking out after the case, Debi Ray-Rivers, of the organisation Saving Children and Revealing Secrets [SCARS], said: “As in many child sexual abuse cases, we are left wondering whether justice was served. Three years for the perpetrator of a crime that will leave scars on a young life, perhaps well into her adulthood. He will probably serve half of that time and given the nature of the abuse and the age of the victim at the time, it is highly likely that he will go on to be a threat to children in the future.“We must demand better for victims laws that provide [a] just punishment that validates the victim and their suffering, and that keep our community safe from convicted paedophiles."Ms Ray-Rivers said awareness and education are key to tackling the problem of child sex abuse, and urged people to visit the SCARS website at www.scarsbermuda.com to learn more.