A Medford man who committed sex crimes against three young boys will serve almost six years in prison.
Grant Self, 61, befriended the children's parents, then used that relationship to abuse their children, said Deputy District Attorney Adam Peterson.
"I'm glad that these young boys and law enforcement held (Self) accountable under the law," Peterson said.
Self pleaded guilty Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court to a single count each of using a child in sexually explicit conduct — a Measure 11 crime — attempted sexual abuse and attempted use of a child in sexually explicit conduct. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison by Judge Timothy Barnack for the first charge, and 24- and 30-month concurrent sentences on the other two charges.
Saying he has no tolerance for crimes against children, Barnack praised the boys for speaking up about their abuse.
"Your children are heroes for coming forward," Barnack told the boys' parents. "You tell them the judge said that about them."
All three children are exceptionally vulnerable to abuse because of their special needs, said Peterson. Self preyed on the boys, creating a two-year friendship with the mother of at least one of the victims.
Self told the mother he was taking the boy to pick vegetables. Instead he drove the child to a location with a hot tub, took off his clothes, got in the tub and told the child to do the same, Peterson said.
The terrified boy's panicked refusal caused Self to abandon his attempt, and eventually return him to his home, Peterson said.
The boy's mother said her autistic son has been unable to sleep alone in his bed, has had ongoing panic attacks and suffered other emotional trauma after Self's attempted sexual abuse.
"He actually became quite suicidal," she said. "For these kids, it is never going to be over."
The father of the two other children choked back tears as he recounted the horror of realizing his children had been sexually abused by Self.
"This is the last thing I thought of when I had kids," he said. "I worried about drugs or them getting hit by a car. I don't see how someone can find a sexual urge for a child."
The parents said they agreed to accept the plea bargain because they did not want to put their children through the added trauma of a court trial. Peterson said a charge of first-degree sex abuse and second-degree kidnapping were dropped in the negotiations.
Self said he "never set out to harm anyone," after reading off a list of ailments that ranged from cancer to a bad back.
"To anybody I've ever harmed, I'm deeply regretful," Self said.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail email@example.com.