Cops and Courts, News

Man sentenced to 10-20 years for three counts of sexual abuse

MORGANTOWN — A sentencing hearing that sent a man to prison for sexually abusing four people ended with tears on both sides of the court room Monday.
Hank Thomas Reynolds was sentenced to 10-20 years each for three counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or person of trust and one to five years for third-degree sexual abuse. The sentences will run concurrently per the terms of a binding plea agreement. On his release, Reynolds is required to register as a sex offender for life. Monongalia County Circuit Judge Phillip Gaujot presided.
Prosecutor Perri Jo DeChris-topher praised the victims for coming forward despite knowing how relations would change in the family, saying Reynolds’ family treated the three sisters badly because of the decision to come forward.
One of Reynolds’ victims, a 16-year-old girl, spoke in front of the court and said she was only making a statement to bring closure for her and her sisters. The girl, the first to report Reynolds, said she started the process a year and a half ago.
“I will take this blame,” she said, looking across the court at Reynolds’ family who was sitting behind him. “I will be proud to take this blame. Today is the day we get closure.”
Before delivering the sentence, Gaujot said one of the victims couldn’t even write a victim impact statement because it would require her to relive the trauma. He told Reynolds that his lawyer, Raymond Yackel, did a “heck of a job” securing a binding plea agreement or he would have probably run the sentences consecutively.
After the sentence was delivered and Reynolds was remanded into custody, some of the six people seated behind him began to cry.
“I can’t believe this,” one said leaving the courtroom.
Meanwhile, on the prosecution’s side of the room, three of Reynolds’ four victims began hugging each other and sobbing. All of them thanked a state trooper who was present in the courtroom and involved in the case.
“We did it,” one said.