MCDA: Convicted serial child molester out of Ukiah sentenced to 35 years to life in prison

According to the Mendocino County District Attorney (MCDA), a defendant from the Westport and Spy Rock areas, convicted of serial child molestation of two different victims, was sentenced to 35 years to life in state prison on Friday, May 11.

"The long and tortuous legal proceedings against defendant Matthew Thomas McCarthy, age 49 that began in February 2016, were finally concluded today in the Mendocino County Superior Court," the DA said. "He was sentenced to state prison for 35 years to life."

As partial background, after a jury was selected in late January 2018 to decide his fate and after the DA had completed his opening statement of anticipated trial evidence to the jury, the defendant, serving as his own attorney, asked for and was granted permission to change his plea to guilty to various child molestation charges. He belatedly accepted the DA's prior one-and-only offer of 35 years to life. Such a sentence is possible because the current case had two separate victims and McCarthy was previously convicted in 2001 of felony child molestation of a third victim, the DA reported, adding that the defendant was granted probation in that prior case following an apology wherein he promised to never re-offend.

As required by law, the defendant's guilty pleas were referred last January to the Adult Probation department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for March 9, 2018.

However, rather than proceed to sentencing on March 9, the defense, through newly-retained counsel, requested time to research and prepare a motion to withdraw the January guilty pleas. The request for additional time was granted and a hearing on the motion to be filed was scheduled for May 11.

Following an hour-long hearing Friday morning, the DA said the court denied the defendant's motion to withdraw from the plea and sentence bargain: again the same bargain that the defendant had asked for and accepted both orally and in writing in January.

When the matter was called again during Friday's afternoon session, the court then heard from one of the molestation survivors. officials said. The now-adult young woman read her impact statement in open court.

"In a strong and assertive voice, the woman offered advice to other molestation victims and explained to the court the negative impacts she had experienced physically and emotionally due to the over four years of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of defendant McCarthy," the DA said. "She asked any future parole board which may be considering the defendant's release down the road to heed her warning that the defendant will continue to be a significant danger to children and animals now and into the future because he has no sexual boundaries."

Ultimately, the court proceeded to impose sentence, and McCarthy was sentenced to the expected 35 years to life in state prison, according to the DA. The DA also said the defendant intends to appeal the decision.

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