COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Convicted child molester and former Colorado Springs police officer Joshua Carrier was sentenced to 70 years to life in prison in front of a packed courtroom that included his young victims and their families.
"It's just a constant thing I deal with, and now it's over," said Troy Reader, one of the victims in the case who's now in ninth grade. "I feel like all the stress is off my shoulders. And I'm happy about it."
It's been a long ordeal for Reader and 21 other boys in the almost two years since Carrier was arrested for possessing child pornography. Carrier was a school resource officer and volunteer wrestling coach at Horace Mann Middle School. His wrestling skin checks, where he fondled boys' private areas and even filmed himself doing it with a web camera, were the crux of the molestation case.
Reader said his friends at school know what happened, but he's not ashamed to speak up.
"Now that this has gone on, I'm proud of it-- that I can stand up for what happened to me and say it happened and still be myself around them," Reader said.
Reader, his parents and other victims' families said they believed justice was served even though Carrier could have gotten a lot more time in prison for sexually abusing 18 boys.
"I'm glad he got his time," said Matthew Kurvink, Reader's step-dad. "I'm glad all the families do feel it came through in the end and the guy's not going to walk out the door today."
Prosecutors in the case say the victims showed great courage.
"I don't know how many of us adults can really understand how difficult it is to get up on the stand and testify about the most vulnerable moment of your life, when it's embarrassing" said prosecutor Amy Fitch. "It would be hard for us adults, but kids that age, it's awful."
Carrier's attorney, Josh Tolini, said that Carrier is looking forward to the appeals process. He said it would be about two years before an appellate court would hear the case. Tolini said Carrier will have a public defender from now on because of financial reasons.
Tolini and the district attorney's office aren't in agreement about when Carrier will be eligible for parole. Tolini said it will be after Carrier serves 75% of his 70 year sentence. The district attorney's office says Carrier could be released early for good behavior, but that it's unknown when that could be. Carrier got credit for more than 400 days of time already served.