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Convicted molestor gets 68-month sentence

A 63-year-old South Kitsap man who admitted to giving his 3-year-old step-granddaughter herpes was given the maximum sentence of 68 months in Kitsap County Superior Court on Monday, though the victim’s current guardians told the court he deserved nothing less than a life sentence.

“The harm (Donald Joseph Griffin) has done has only begun to raise its ugly head,” said Doug Clausen, the victim’s foster father and great-uncle. “The years ahead will be unnecessarily challenging for (the victim and her two brothers), and this is their life sentence.”

Griffin, 63, was arrested last June after Child Protective Services (CPS) learned that one of the three young relatives — all under 8 — placed in his home had contracted genital herpes.

He originally denied the charge of child rape, but later filed an Alford plea to child molestation, which allows defendants to continue claiming innocence, yet concede that a jury would likely find them guilty at trial.

According to court documents, Griffin admitted to investigators he gave herpes to the child, but that he was “not a pedophile.”

He described the incident as a very “bizarre” act that was all the child’s idea.He said she led him into a room and barricaded the door with her toy box before initiating the sexual contact.

Griffin said he only allowed her to touch him in such a manner because he was “stunned” by her actions and “curious about what she was doing.”

“As the foster parent, the transfer of the virus was my fault, (but) no crime was committed,” Griffin wrote after the incident, adding that he felt that the fact that the victim contacted herpes was “tragic,” but claimed that he had no sexual intent, motivation or gratification during the incident.

“I am not a pedophile,” he said, “and no one will be made safer by my imprisonment.”

However, the victim’s foster mother, Barbara Clausen, said that since Griffin blamed the child for the sexual contact, he showed that he did not deserve a lenient sentence.

“This ludicrous statement alone should weigh heavily in doling out an adequate sentence,” she told the court.

Doug Clausen agreed.

“Your plea shows us you can’t even be honest enough with yourself to admit the damage that you’ve done,” he said. “You are a shameful and disgusting person.”

The victim and her two brothers were removed from Griffin’s home after his arrest. The children had been living with him for several months, and for most of that time he was their sole custodian, as his wife was living in Mexico for much of the year.

Both Clausens said all three children had been affected by the abuse of the victim, and that Griffin should be forced to pay restitution for their medical and psychological care.

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