FORT EDWARD — A Fort Edward man who repeatedly raped two young girls was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in state prison as a judge told him his crimes were “hard to fathom.”
Richard M. Alger, 53, was convicted of six felonies and two misdemeanors after a jury trial in Washington County Court last month. Among the charges was a count of predatory sexual assault against a child, the state’s weightiest sex charge, for repeated rape of a girl younger than the age of 13. The other teen was younger than the age of 16.
The girls, with whom he was acquainted, testified of repeated sexual abuse in Fort Edward, including one incident where he suggested a threesome with them on a boat on the Hudson River.
The jury deliberated for about two hours before convicting him.
Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan told Alger there was not an appropriate sentence for him to impose for the crimes that Alger committed, saying the girls will be dealing with the aftereffects of the abuse for the rest of their lives.
Alger had nothing to say before McKeighan imposed sentence, after he and the judge heard victims impact statements from his two victims, read by Washington County Crime Victims Specialist Robin McNeill.
One of the girls called Alger “sick and disgusting” and said that she did not feel safe being alone until he was arrested and jailed. She said she came forward “thinking of the other girls beside myself.”
“It makes me really happy that he is being locked up and it will make me and other girls safe,” the statement read.
The other girl said she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had lost her ability to trust people because of the molestation.
“He took away a part of me I can’t get back,” she wrote.
Washington County Assistant District Attorney Brandon Rathbun, who prosecuted the case, asked McKeighan to impose the maximum sentence, calling the sexual abuse “well beyond what we usually see.” He reminded McKeighan that one of the victims was just 11 and called Alger a “serial rapist.”
“I believe justice is served for these two victims by the defendant serving the rest of his life in prison,” he said.
Defense lawyer Martin McGuinness pointed out that a plea deal offer during trial would have netted Alger a seven-year prison sentence, and he said his client shouldn’t be punished for taking the case to trial.
Rathbun, though, said the sentence should take into consideration all of the facts that came out during the trial, such as Alger raping one girl while the other was forced to watch.
Alger plans to appeal the convictions and sentence.