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Mitchell man gets 10 years for molestation

A Mitchell man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for having sexual contact with a child younger than 16.

Peter McKeen, 42, pleaded guilty to the conviction in January. He admitted earlier in court to touching a young girl for his own sexual gratification between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1.

McKeen's attorney, Phil Carlson, asked the court for less than the minimum sentence -- which is 10 years in prison -- because of mitigating circumstances. Carlson said mitigating circumstances include McKeen's fairly light criminal history, no prior allegations of illegal sexual contact, his good conduct since his accusal and his adherence to the 24/7 Sobriety program.

Deputy Davison County State's Attorney Bob O'Keefe asked for the 10-year minimum sentence required by law.

"In my reading of the presentence investigation, I believe he minimizes his actions," O'Keefe said, adding he thinks McKeen is using alcohol as an excuse for his behavior. "It's an aggravated circumstance, he has a history of alcohol use, and a history of not controlling himself while under the influence, which makes him a danger to others."

Judge Tim Bjorkman agreed with O'Keefe and sentenced McKeen to 10 years in prison, with credit for 28 days already served in county jail. Bjorkman did not find there were any mitigating circumstances.

"While your record does not reflect any prior similar crimes, and while it's true that you eventually confessed, I have several concerns," Bjorkman said.

He cited a simple assault conviction in 2010, another for disorderly conduct in 2010 and test results from McKeen's psychosexual evaluation that show he has a history of aggression and physical abuse of his spouse.

Bjorkman also ordered McKeen pay the cost of the psychosexual evaluation and that he get treatment while in prison rather than waiting for parole.

Bjorkman estimated McKeen's first parole eligibility will be in February 2019.