Originally created 08/31/02

Molester gets 15-year sentence



An Augusta man who had a juvenile record for child molestation was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for molesting another child.

A Richmond County Superior Court jury convicted Toreno Sweetenburg, 25, of child molestation and aggravated child molestation in June. Four years before, an 11-year-old boy Mr. Sweetenburg had befriended revealed that Mr. Sweetenburg had sexually assaulted him.

The boy was traumatized by what Mr. Sweetenburg did in February and March 1998, his mother told the jury this summer. He was hospitalized and attempted suicide more than once, and he still has trouble with anger, she said.

Years before, in September 1991, another 11-year-old boy was befriended and then raped by Mr. Swee-tenburg, that victim told the jury this summer. Mr. Sweetenburg was just 15 years old then, and the case was disposed of in juvenile court.

The 1998 case was nearly lost the following year when a prosecutor, saying he could not find the victim, put the case in inactive status. The victim's mother testified that she moved several times to avoid Mr. Sweetenburg, who she thought was stalking her son.

On Friday, Judge Carl C. Brown Jr., who presided over Mr. Sweetenburg's trial, sentenced him to serve 15 years in prison and then 35 years on probation.

Georgia law requires Mr. Sweetenburg to serve 10 years without possibility of parole, and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles' rules will require Mr. Swee-tenburg to serve at least four additional years before he is eligible for parole.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.