Danny Strickland (Source: Pender County Sheriff's Office)
PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A man in Pender County pleaded guilty Tuesday to several sex offenses involving children.
According to officials, Danny Strickland pleaded guilty to first degree sex offense with a child, indecent liberties with a child, and crimes against nature.
The judge aggravated the charges because the victims suffered severe emotional injuries and because Strickland took advantage of position of trust.
Tuesday, Strickland was sentenced to 35 years behind bars, and he will have to serve 27 of them. Wednesday, Judge Hockenbury ruled that Strickland will have to wear an ankle bracelet which will monitor him for the rest of his life, instead of the usual 30 years given for a child molestation charge.
District Attorney, Ben David, says this is one of the worst cases of child molestation he has seen in the community in a long time. Detectives say Strickland sexually abused the two girls for about eight months, manipulating them to perform sexual acts. David says the girls showed a tremendous amount of courage by coming forward, without their testimony, he says it would have been difficult to put Strickland behind bars.
"A child molester steals a childhood," explained David. "What was clear in this case was that his victims were grievously injured, they've had real emotional difficulties and we hope this brings about some amount of closure today. If Mr. Strickland was looking for mercy he is going to have to ask God for it deep within his cell in Central Prison, because we weren't going to show him any."
Detectives say it was a difficult and traumatic case to investigate. They hope the outcome brings the girls some closure, are glad justice was served.
"This is going to impact them for the rest of their lives," said Detective J. O. Leatherwood. "He took advantage of [them], and now he is going to pay for it, and he needs to pay for it."