The former mayor of a small North Dakota town will spend 25 years in prison under sentencing handed down today.
Dale Yost, the former mayor of Balfour in McHenry County, was officially sentenced to 45 years, but Northeast District Judge John McClintock suspended 20 years of the sentence.
Yost had entered an Alford Plea of guilty to five counts of gross sexual imposition for having sexual contact with five girls age 5, 7, 7, 8, and 13.
An Alford Plea means Yost does not admit to doing what he's charged with, but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence for a conviction.
Prosecutor Marie Miller argued for a total prison time of 30 years, rather than the 25 years announced today.
Miller says Yost is the grandfather of three of the victims and was a neighbor to the other two - and the five girls had trusted him when he sexually abused them.
She told the court the list of victims stretches to family, friends, and the entire community.
And she says there's no way to repay what was taken from the girls themselves.
(Marie Miller, McHenry County State's Attorney) "This type of a crime, you can't make the victim whole again, you can't take them back to the place that they were before the crime was perpetrated against them. There's no monetary value you can place upon what happened to them so, as far as restitution, you can move forward and aid the victims in getting the appropriate therapy and help that they need but as far as repaying and putting them back to what they were before the crime was committed, it's just not possible."
In his defense, Yost maintained he had not had any sexual contact with the girls and said he had not received proper representation from his court-appointed attorney.
Judge McClintock said Yost had tried to blame the victims in the case.
The judge said he hoped Yost would come to see someday that what he did was terribly wrong.
Yost will serve his prison time at the state penitentiary in Bismarck.