A Wenatchee Valley family treated John W. Garrity like a beloved grandfather. He returned that trust by sexually abusing their young daughter.
Garrity, 86, pleaded guilty last fall to first-degree child molestation, admitting he sexually abused the girl over the course of six years, beginning when she was 5 years old. Today, the decorated World War II veteran and former industrial plant manager was sentenced to 68 months in prison.
Chelan County Superior Court Judge T.W. “Chip” Small imposed a sentence at the upper end of the standard range for Garrity’s crime. Chelan County Prosecutor Gary Riesen had asked for a sentence at the low end, 51 months.
Small cited a statement read aloud in court by the girl’s father, which described Garrity’s behavior as “vile,” “evil,” “perverse” and “repugnant,” among other terms.
“These are accurate descriptions of what you did,” Small told the balding, bespectacled Garrity, “and I think it demonstrates to everyone here that even seemingly admirable people, war heroes, can commit despicable crimes.”
Garrity had befriended the victim’s family nearly 20 years ago. The family discovered the abuse last year when the victim, now a teenager, told them Garrity had molested her on multiple occasions between the ages of 5 and 11.
The family reported her statement to Wenatchee police in late April 2010. Detectives won a warrant to listen in on a phone call between the victim and Garrity, in which he admitted the abuse and repeatedly apologized to the victim. Upon arrest in early May, he again confessed to molesting the girl and showing her pornographic movies.
The judge turned down a request by Garrity’s attorney to give him Washington’s Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative, which allows convicts to serve all or part of their sentence out of custody while receiving court-ordered therapeutic treatment.