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Grandfather in abuse case sentenced

A South Kitsap man charged with tying up his adopted grandchildren will serve four more months in jail after pleading guilty on Friday in Kitsap County Superior Court.

Larry Lee Mann, 66, was arrested with his wife, Judith Kay, 61, last June for allegedly restraining at least two of the young children in their home with plastic zip-ties while feeding them only ice cubes and graham crackers for several days, according to investigators.

Mann was originally charged with second-degree child assault and unlawful imprisonment, but accepted a plea agreement from Deputy Prosecutor Claire Bradley that lowered the assault charge to third-degree and the possible jail time to eight months.

“We have given Mr. Mann this opportunity because it is clear that Ms. Mann was the main perpetrator in this case,” Bradley said, explaining that Larry Mann was less culpable because he was out of town for long periods of time while his wife was home alone with the children.

“However, he did do what (his wife) told him to do,” Bradley said, “and has admitted to beating (the children) and tying them up.”

Since Mann had no prior criminal history, Bradley said the maximum sentence he could receive was eight months, which she recommended.

However, Mann’s defense attorney, Kerry Stevens, requested her client only be sentenced to four months and receive credit for time served, which she said was four months.

“That way he can get out of jail and back into the workforce and support his wife,” Stevens said, describing the recent events as a “tragic circumstance for more than the children.”

She said the actions of her client were “desperate measures” in a situation that had “gotten out of control.” She portrayed the children in the Manns’ care — only one is related to Judith Mann by blood — as suffering from severe developmental and behavioral problems as a result of both fetal alcohol syndrome and spending five years in foster care.

“(The Manns) were not capable of taking care of all three of the children, but they wanted to keep them together,” she said, explaining that the two younger children, a 10-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, were behaving so erratically that the Manns felt “unsafe in their own home.”

The night before their arrest, when Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies reportedly discovered the boy wandering on the street at 4:30 a.m. and later found his sister tied up on a mattress, Stevens said the Manns discovered the two children trying to light a fire under the dining room table.

“(The Manns) did not feel safe going to bed with (the younger children) free to roam around the house,” she said.

All three children adopted by the Manns have the same mother, but only the oldest boy — 11 at the time of their arrest — is the son of Judith’s son, James Vance.

Judge Leila Mills then addressed Mann, who wiped away tears while waiting for his sentence.

“This is a most disturbing case ... and I feel the maximum sentence is appropriate,” Mills said, before sentencing Mann to eight months on each charge. “The sentences will be served concurrently, with credit for the time already served.”

Judith Mann has refused all plea agreements, and faces several years in prison if found guilty at her trial, which begins next month.

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