Donald Hughes was sentenced Wednesday for sexually abusing two girls younger than 11. Sarah Blazonis was in Oneida County Court as parents of one of the victims spoke out.
UTICA, N.Y. -- "You saw her as a rapist sees their victim, no emotion, just an object to do whatever with and discard like garbage," the mother of one of Donald Hughes' victims said.
There were harsh words for Hughes in Oneida County Court Wednesday. Before he was sentenced for the sexual abuse of two girls younger than 11, the parents of one of his victims spoke out about how their daughter's life has changed forever.
"[She has] nightmares, lack of participation in school, lost trust in males, and even distanced herself from me, her own father, at times," said the father of one victim.
Hughes was a trusted figure in the girls' lives until the abuse, which the indictment said took place between December 2010 and April 2011 in the Town of Floyd.
As he did during his trial, Hughes told Judge Barry Donalty his charges were based on a misunderstanding.
"I'm a very affectionate guy, things were taken out of context, and I never meant to do any harm," said Hughes.
But Donalty said the evidence presented during trial of repeated offenses was overwhelming.
"It's as if you got on top of them and just punched them in the jaw, one time after another after another. That's the same thing you did to these young ladies as a result of your actions and your perversion," said Judge Donalty.
Donalty sentenced Hughes to a total of 43 years in prison. He also expressed hope that with counseling the girls will be able to make it through the years ahead. It's a task prosecutors said the girls are well-equipped to accomplish because of their families' support.
"They've been a great source of strength for their children. Their support and love for these girls will go a long way in their recovery from the pain and devastation the defendant has caused to them," said First Assistant District Attorney Dawn Lupi.
The judge also issued an order of protection on the girls' behalf prohibiting any contact between them and Hughes.