A man charged with sexual abuse of a minor in Maryland has received a suspended 10-year sentence as part of a plea bargain.
Jeffrey Bixby admitted in court that he had “destroyed the faith and trust” that the girl and her family had placed with him through the acts that a prosecutor said occurred during the child’s visits during a four-year period to Bixby’s home.
The plea agreement was presented to a judge by a prosecutor brought in from Charles County and Bixby’s lawyer from Annapolis.
“This is what the family decided, and the judge and the prosecutor agreed,” said the girl’s mother this week of the plea deal, which included no active incarceration, according to Southern Maryland Newspapers Online.
“Our families were very close,” she added. “It was in the best interest of the children involved.”
The 54-year-old Bixby was charged with sexually abusing a friend of the family from 2003 to 2007. At that time the girl was between 6 and 10 years old. The victim helped the state develop charges by placing a recorded call to Bixby in which he implicated himself and apologized to her, reported The Bay Net.
Bixby would get into a shower with the girl, the prosecutor said at Friday’s hearing, and at other times, Bixby would unlawfully touch the girl with explanations that he “checked her for ticks” and played a “doctor game” with her.
“He explained he was a firefighter, and had to practice stuff for work,” said Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany Campbell during the proceeding held in a St. Mary’s courtroom.
St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Karen H. Abrams said during the hearing that she initially was reluctant to accept a plea agreement that includes no active incarceration, but that the girl would be spared “the anguish of a trial and the testimony” through the agreement.
The judge sentenced Bixby to a 10-year prison sentence, suspended on the condition that he register as a sex offender, continue counseling, have no unsupervised contact with any children younger than 16 and have no contact whatsoever with the girl and her family during three years of supervised probation.
A sentencing guidelines worksheet prepared by the prosecutor listed a guidelines range in Bixby’s case of 10 to 18 years in jail. The maximum penalty for sexual abuse of a minor is 25 years in prison.