Nome man sentenced to 90 years for sex abuse of minor
George Tate of Nome, 46, heard Judge Romano D. DiBenedetto hand down a sentence of 90 years flat at a sentencing hearing July 31. A flat sentence means one must serve all the time without good time off or probation time off. The district attorney filed the charge of Sex Abuse of a Minor 1 on Aug. 10 last year.
The court issued a warrant of $50,000 to Nome Police Dept. for Tate who concealed his whereabouts until he was found 10 miles from town.
A report from Alaska State Troopers indicated they apprehended Tate on Aug. 18 and transferred his custody to Nome Police Dept. Tate has been held at Anvil Mountain Correction Center on $100,000 bail ordered by Judge Romano D. DiBenedetto.
Tate was facing two sex crime charges; however, the state dismissed one charge.Tate was convicted after he pleaded guilty to the other charge—Sex Abuse 1 of a Minor under 16-years-old—an unclassified felony, according to court documents. Conviction on SAM in the first degree carries a sentence range of 40 to 99 years.
Thomas Jamgochian, assistant district attorney, told the court that Tate’s offense deserved the maximum sentence for circumstances and the seriousness of the crime.
“This is an extraordinarily serious offense committed by a predatory offender,” Jamgochian said. He would be asking the court to find Tate a “worst offender.”
The court could find Tate a “worst offender” based on either the seriousness of current crime or based on his history of convictions going back to 1997, Jamgochian said.
Tate had a catalog of crimes based on three types: assaulting women, assaulting people and assaulting family members. Tate had 21 priors—including 10 assaults that included one sexual felony and one felony, one stalking conviction, one violation of a protective order, one drug offense, one DUI, plus nine separate probation violations, according to Jamgochian and according to court records. This record showed Tate had been given multiple chances to follow orders of the court he hadn’t done, Jamgochian added.
Both the victim and the victim’s mother declined to speak to the court prior to sentencing.
Tate, through his public defender, James Ferguson, asked for a lesser sentence of 60 years with 20 years suspended and 20 years probation. At that, Tate would be at best 87-years-old before being eligible for release. Statistics show that rehabilitation increases and recidivism falls for advanced ages, Ferguson told the court. Tate would have a lifetime of isolation and supervision even with the lesser sentence.
Tate had a tough childhood, Ferguson said, in a house of fighting, drinking and arguing. He had been abused and beaten by older siblings. When he was 16, he got a dishwasher job at a local restaurant that allowed him to help his family.
“George did not do well in school,” Ferguson told the court. “He didn’t actually learn to read and write until he was 21, taught by his girlfriend at the time.”
Tate had dictated his statement to Ferguson; Ferguson had typed it for him. One of his greatest achievements has been encouraging and supporting his children’s education, even going to school with one youngster for several days to help him.
During his year in custody he had made positive strides, taking advantage of rehabilitative programs, treatment programs, parenting with purpose, and North Slope training, according to his attorney.
Tate spoke at length. He told the victim he was sorry, that he had made wrong choices, “followed the wrong roads of selfishness, of drinking and drugs and I regret it.”
Jail had been good for him; he had been able to get sober and experience right thinking. He apologized to the community, co-workers and family. He vowed to take every class and treatment that would make him a better person.
In comments preceding the sentence, Judge diBenedetto commented on Tate’s assaults against women spanning 18 years. He noted the circumstances of the seriousness of the crime and found Tate a “worst offender.”
He did not judge people, Judge diBenedetto said, but based sentences on evidence and the law. The sentence did could not rehabilitate the victim, who remained a valued member of the community. The sentence could not serve community condemnation; the community did not need him to tell them Tate’s crime was wrong. Tate needed to be confined for the safety of others.
“The sentence is 90 years flat,” the judge said.