A North Dakota man was sentenced to likely die in prison for years of child sexual abuse and the production of massive amounts of child pornography by a federal judge with harsh words for him this week.
Dwayne Gerard, Sr., 63, was sentenced to 60 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland. In the unlikely event Gerard is ever freed, he will be subject to a lifetime of supervised release.
During the sentencing hearing, Hovland criticized the defendant as “a parent’s worst nightmare” but didn’t stop here, according to courtroom remarks reported by The Bismarck Tribune.
“You unquestionably are a threat to any minor child,” the judge added. “A pedophile extraordinaire.”
In August of this year, the defendant pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual exploitation of minors. He was originally charged on a total of eight child exploitation-related offenses, some of them considered to be more serious felonies like sexual abuse of a child under the age of 15, and use of a minor in a sexual performance in Ward County, N.D. He was additionally charged with relatively lesser offenses like providing alcohol and drugs to minors. The defendant was also charged in another county with a charge of gross sexual imposition.
Gerard was arrested in October 2020 – while on the run from his state charges in the medium-sized town of Conroe, Texas.
The Conroe Police Department said the defendant “has been known to travel to other states and has a lengthy violent criminal history,” in a statement obtained by local Montgomery County paper, The Courier.
During his initial arraignment, courtroom fireworks went off.
The Minot Daily News reports:
A male relative of the alleged child victims, who testified in the courtroom before Judge Hagar, asked the judge to set the bond at the maximum allowed and, addressing Gerard’s image on the television screen, told Gerard that the bond was for Gerard’s own safety and Gerard should not want to be let out on bond. Hagar told the relative of the alleged victims not to make threats.
He was indicted in February 2021 on eight counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of transportation of a minor to engage in sexual activity, according to the Daily News. The local charges against him were ultimately dropped after his indictment.
Gerard was accused of repeatedly sexually abusing two children. An ensuing investigation turned up over 1,700 images and videos of the abuse the defendant subjected the two children to on his electronic devices.
A redacted federal indictment obtained by Law&Crime cites incidents of abuse that began in 2015 and went through 2019.
Several family members testified about the impact the abuse had on the minor victims and their families.
The defendant also spoke for himself during his sentencing hearing, addressing that pain, saying he was also a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of older men he trusted in his life, admitting he didn’t know why he continued the cycle.
“I do know the pain involved because it happened to me,” Gerard said.
The defense asked for 20 years in prison.
“This is truly a case that required a sentence sufficient enough to ensure the defendant never harms another child again,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme said in a press release.
The state requested 30 years on all charges.
“Your life will end in prison, which is where it should end,” Judge Hovland reportedly said.
In the end, Gerard was assessed two 30-year, consecutive sentences – double what federal prosecutors had asked for.
The defendant himself pleaded with the judge to reconsider running both sentences consecutively. The judge reportedly replied that if he reconsidered the judgment, he would assess Gerard 30 years, consecutively, for each of the eight counts.
[image via Conroe Police Department]
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