Originally created 07/31/01

Two men go to jail for abuse

AIKEN - The ex-wife of a man who pleaded guilty Monday to sexually abusing his 6-year-old daughter and 8-year-old niece said her child "was forced into an adult world" too soon.

Charles "Trey" Blitch III, of Charleston, S.C., pleaded guilty in Aiken County General Sessions Court to first-degree criminal sexual conduct on a minor and lewd acts on a child. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Mr. Blitch, 28, admitted to abusing his daughter and niece in August 2000 while he lived in Aiken. His ex-wife said their daughter has not stopped having bad dreams since the crime. By pleading guilty, Mr. Blitch ceded his parental rights.

"She's had to forgo being a happy, well-adjusted child," his ex-wife said. "It is evident she has changed forever."

The mother of Mr. Blitch's niece said a prison sentence isn't enough.

"There is not enough justice to take away the shame I see in my child's eyes," she said.

Also Monday, Peter Edward Duke, 53, of the 100 block of Tradd Lane in Aiken, pleaded guilty in two sexual assault cases. One involved a 6-year-old girl and charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct on a minor, and the other involved an 11-year-old girl and charges of lewd acts on a child.

He was sentenced to 17 and 15 years in prison, respectively. The sentences are to run concurrently.

"He hasn't learned his lesson for anything he's done," said the mother of the 6-year-old, who was the victim of Mr. Duke between August 1999 and April 2000. "He's a waste of space. If the sun never shines on him, that would be great."

Mr. Duke's second victim and her mother did not appear in court.

After their release, both men will have to register on the state's sex offender registry.

Mr. Duke, 53, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, told Judge James Williams Jr. the punishment fit his crimes.

"I deserve every day of it," Mr. Duke said. He received credit for serving 445 days in the Aiken County jail.

Reach Matthew Boedy at (803) 648-1395 or mboedy@augusta.com.


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