A Brookline man was sentenced Thursday to serve four years in jail for touching a girl sexually when she was 12 and he was 23. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge in November.
Daniel E. Omand, 27, pleaded guilty in November in Rutland criminal court to a felony charge of sexual assault on a person younger than 16.
Omand was first arraigned in December 2018 on a felony count of aggravated repeated sexual assault on a child, which carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life but the charge was amended as part of the plea agreement entered in November.
Omand admitted in November he had touched a woman who lived in his home but to whom he was not biologically related in December 2015 when she was 12.
Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy said the state believed the girl’s history was an aggravating factor in the case. She was very young when she came to live in Omand’s house but already had a history of sexual abuse which Kennedy said left the girl vulnerable.
Kennedy asked the court to sentence Omand to 10 to 15 years while attorney Matt Hart, who represented Omand asked for a sentence of one to three years.
Hart said if his client’s jail sentence was shorter he would be given programming specific to sexual offenders, which Hart said would be safer for the community once his client was released.
Judge David Fenster sentenced Omand to nine to 15 years but suspended all of the time except four years for Omand to serve in jail. The sentence commenced immediately with Omand taken from the courtroom to prison.
The woman whom Omand assaulted was in the courtroom on Thursday. Shea McGee, victim advocate for the Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office read a statement to Fenster that the woman had written in January.
Her statement said she had left her previous home where Omand abused her in October 2018.
“I thought, ‘I’m safe. I’ll feel safe.’ But I soon realized that I don’t feel safe. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel safe. Certain smells, seeing a location where I was abused or seeing someone who looks like Daniel triggers so many memories. I’m paralyzed. My world turns upside down. I feel like I can’t breathe. Am I safe? Can he get to me? I feel so dirty, so unlovable,” the statement said.
Kennedy, while arguing for Omand to spend at least 10 years in jail, referenced a statement he made to a psychologist who prepared a psycho-sexual report for the court, and the circumstances that brought the girl to the Omand home.
“(Omand) acknowledged as much in the conversation he had with Dr. (Claire) Gilligan and the state noted it earlier. (Omand) said (the girl) must have felt ‘betrayed, abandoned, presumably thinking this is how it’s going to be and scared.’ (Omand) took advantage of whatever trust and love and hope, (the girl) had for her new … family and capitalized on the fact that (the girl) was a child without anywhere else to go,” Kennedy said.
Given an opportunity to speak before he was sentenced, Omand said he took responsibility for what he did and acknowledged it was “inappropriate” and took place over a “lengthy amount of time.”
He said he “couldn’t begin to make up for the irreparable damage” he had done to his family, his wife, his children and especially the woman.
Hart said Omand had told him he was “grateful” that law-enforcement officers became involved in the case.
“This is the beginning of change in his life that he’s recognized issues that he’s had to deal with,” he said.
Hart said after some time in therapy, Omand “recognizes his sickness.”
Before announcing his verdict, Fenster told the woman that no sentence he could impose would make her whole.
He said a four-year sentence was lengthy for someone with no criminal history. However, he added the sentence could be longer if Omand does not cooperate with in-jail treatment and does not accept responsibility.