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Bayer Sentenced to Six Months

‘Adopted grandpa’ volunteered at two elementary schools in Reston and one in Herndon.

Kenneth Charles Bayer, 89, was sentenced on Friday, Feb. 17 to serve six months in jail for three counts of child sex abuse.

Before Judge Jane Marum Roush sentenced Bayer, the victim's parents told of the ongoing devastation Bayer has caused their daughter and family.

The victim's mother spoke for her daughter.

"I am not only here so my voice is heard, but so my daughter's voice is heard," she said. "It's been almost a year, and my daughter suffers every day from what Mr. Bayer has inflicted on her."

The victim's mother spoke for herself.

"After years of teaching our child to trust and respect the elderly … now what do we say? What do we do?" she said.

The victim's father spoke to the fears of all parents who hope for the best for their children.

Since Bayer assaulted his child, who was 12 years old at the time of the assault, the victim's father changed jobs to ensure that he is now around his children as much as possible.

"I want to be there, I want to watch them. I want to be around to make sure they don't get hurt," he said.

He also shared the impact Bayer has had on his confidence as a parent. "I feel like I failed as a human being," he said.

<b>POLICE ARRESTED BAYER</b> on March 3, 2005, charging him with two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of taking indecent liberties with a child.

Bayer, of Reston, admitted that he touched the victim inappropriately, according to Detective Richard Mullins who testified at Bayer's preliminary hearing in Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in August.

Bayer said he "was trying to educate the victim on what boys might try to do to her," according to Mullins' testimony in August.

Bayer, who had volunteered at Dogwood, Hunter Woods and Hutchison elementary schools, entered an Alford plea on Dec. 14, 2005, with the understanding that prosecutors would request a jail sentence of no more than 11 months.

A defendant who enters an Alford plea admits that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict, without admitting guilt. The court may then impose a sentence as if the defendant had been convicted of the crime.

The victim’s mother testified that she invited Bayer to spend time with her family after the death of Bayer’s wife.

"He was a con man to the family. He gained their trust, gained access to the family and abused that trust," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Tara Mooney. "This con artist, this predator is wearing a disguise of an elderly defenseless man — Grandpa, Santa."

"He's a wolf in sheep's skin," the mother said, outside the courtroom, during a break in the hearing.

Mooney recommended that Bayer be sentenced to 11 months in jail. "He is a risk to the community, and he is a risk to children," she said.

<b>DEFENSE ATTORNEY</b>Steven David Stone said he's never represented anyone as old as Bayer or with such serious medical conditions.

Stone described meeting Bayer in the Adult Detention Center after Bayer's arrest last March, as a "terrible sight of a broken, scared confused man."

Bayer, a retired geophycisist who has three children and two grandchildren, was married 57 years until his wife died on March 3, 2000. That year, Bayer's sister was murdered after letting a magazine salesperson in her home, and his brother died of a heart attack soon after, Stone said.

That’s when Bayer began to focus on volunteer work, in the three elementary schools, two hospitals and the Herndon Free Clinic.

“He lived an exemplary life for the first 80 years of his life and is now realizing he has to live the end of his life with shame and humiliation,” testified Dr. Fred S. Berlin.

Stone called Berlin and Dr. Edwin Carter, two psychiatrists who testified that Bayer suffers damage to the frontal lobe and other regions of the brain which impact his behavior.

Stone told Judge Roush that he's not trying to minimize the tragedy for the victim and her family. But he asked for compassion for a man with no prior criminal record who has a host of serious medical issues including prostate cancer, melanoma under the eye lid, vertigo and kidney and heart problems.

Stone asked Roush to allow Bayer to continue in an assisted living facility, where he has lived with restrictions since being released on bond several months ago, as an alternative to incarceration so that Bayer can receive the medical attention he needs.

But Roush ordered Bayer to be taken into custody at the end of last Friday’s hearing.

<b>JUDGE ROUSH CALLED</b>the case "very sad and very tragic."

"No one can listen to the testimony of the mother and not be moved," she said.

Roush sentenced Bayer to two years in jail and suspended one year and six months on each of the three counts, all to run concurrently.

Bayer, who had already served close to two months in jail, will serve an additional four months. He must register as a convicted sexual offender.

Before Bayer was sentenced, the victim's parents told Roush they are proud of their daughter for speaking up.

"You're the voice for yourself, you're the voice for others, you stopped this man," the mother testified.

"Thank God she came to tell us," her father said outside the courtroom.