fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Sex crime victims face their abuser

Motocross pedophile Daniel Zeman, 65, is sentenced to a prison term that will probably amount to life

More than 10 years after being molested by a motocross mentor, several local men Wednesday faced their abuser in court, venting rage and frustration and discussing their own struggles to move on.

Daniel Paul Zeman, 65, will likely spend the rest of his natural life in prison after pleading guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to abusing four boys in the 1990s. At least 13 other boys were victims, but those crimes could not be prosecuted under the statute of limitations, officials said. One victim told police he was molested 30 years ago.

You destroyed a lot of people's lives for very many years, said one victim, Val Leyva, now 25. Although the typically withholds the names of sex abuse victims, Leyva gave permission to publish his name.

There's a place where people like you go, and that's hell.

Zeman pleaded guilty in May to first- and second-degree sodomy and two counts of first-degree sex abuse. Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia ordered Zeman on Wednesday to spend 13 years and nine months in prison, 20 years on post-prison supervision and register for the rest of his life as a sex offender.

— I do believe that this approximates a life sentence for you, Mejia told Zeman, adding that with Zeman's health problems, he would likely never leave prison.

Mejia delivered his sentence after Medford police Detective Diane Sandler told the judge the case was the most horrific she'd worked on in her 15 years as an officer. Several adult men curled up in a fetal position during interviews at the police department and sobbed, she told the judge. Two men became suicidal after coming forward, she added. All but one of the victims now are over the age of 18.

A lot of people knew this motocross circle, Sandler said.

Exploiting an interest in motorcycles, Zeman befriended boys at local motocross events, invited them to his east Medford home and chaperoned them on out-of-town trips. He used one prot?g? to recruit other boys into his circle, showering them all with gifts after they complied with his sexual advances, said another victim, 23-year-old Uriah Lamproe, who also gave permission to publish his name.

If one boy tried to distance himself from Zeman, the older man would ostracized him from his friends, Lamproe said. Battling depression and self-destructive behavior, Lamproe said he convinced himself the abuse he first suffered when was about 8 years old was acceptable. It wasn't until Lamproe was 12 that he punched Zeman when the older man approached him in the shower.

It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, Lamproe said about talking to police.

Leyva was the first to come forward and reveal the names of other victims, but because the crime happened too long ago to prosecute, investigators looked to Lamproe and others to make their case. Zeman was arrested in January near his home in the 1000 block of Glengrove Avenue in Central Point and has remained in jail.

Zeman didn't look at any of the victims who addressed him in court but ' reading from a prepared statement ' apologized for the crimes. Lamproe and Leyva expressed the hope that fellow prison inmates would subject Zeman to the same abuse they suffered at his hands.

Mejia ordered Zeman to pay a &

36;5,000 compensatory fine to each of the four victims, plus a fifth whose abuse did not result in additional charges. Leyva and Lamproe filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking more than &

36;1 million against Zeman earlier this year, but that case has been dismissed. It wasn't immediately clear why the suit had been dismissed.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail Sex crime victims face their abuser"slemon@mailtribune.com.

How to identify likely sex offenders Adults with these characteristics raise red flags, experts say:

They do not respect boundaries.

They would rather be around children than peers or seem preoccupied with children.

They seem to engage in frequent contact with children, such as casual touching, caressing, wrestling, tickling, combing children's hair or having children sit in their laps.

They act like children when they are with children or allow children to do questionable or inappropriate things.

They do not have children but seem to know too much about fads or music popular with children.

They are liked by your children for reasons you don't understand.

They want to take children on special outings too frequently or plan activities that include being alone with a child.

They seem able to infiltrate family and social functions, are always available to watch children or seem too good to be true.

They have been accused of or convicted of sex abuse.

' Source: Jackson County Sexual Abuse Community Awareness Training