MINOT, N.D. -- A 38-year-old Minot man and former Marine will serve about 20 years in prison for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in June 2016, possessing child pornography and recording a sexually suggestive image of the victim.
Philemon Bartel cried during the sentencing hearing on Tuesday in district court in Minot before Judge Doug Mattson.
"Your honor, I understand I made a huge mistake," Bartel told the judge. "No one's at fault but myself. I would like to seek help with the support of friends and family."
Mattson was bound by a plea deal worked out between the state and the defense last spring, but said Tuesday he would reluctantly accept its terms. He said he has sentenced defendants to longer sentences for similar crimes.
"Your client's conduct is probably one of the nightmares that consume many people," Mattson said, addressing defense attorney Homer McMillan. "He has conducted himself in a deplorable way."
According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court, Bartel took multiple images and recorded videos of the teenaged victim, some of them sexually suggestive. The girl told her parents in January that she had sex with Bartel on more than one occasion. Charges were filed in February against Bartel.
McMillan said in court Tuesday that Bartel, a former Marine, decided to plead guilty in part so the victim would not have to testify at trial. Mattson said that is one mark in Bartel's favor.
Mattson remarked that a pre-sentence investigation shows that Bartel has a low to moderate risk to reoffend. However, Mattson said the test used doesn't particularize as to the age of the victim and the likelihood of reoffending.
"It's a soft science, glorified guessing," said Mattson, who said he has some concern that Bartel might have planned his crime and "groomed" the victim, since the crimes took place when other people were not around.
Bartel pleaded guilty to four counts, Class AA felony gross sexual imposition, Class A felony promoting an obscene performance by a minor, and two Class C felony counts of possession of child pornography. Under the terms of the plea deal, the state dropped two other Class AA felony gross sexual imposition charges and eight Class C felony counts of possession of child porn.
Bartel was sentenced to 10 years for promoting an obscene performance by a minor and five years for each of the child porn charges. All three sentences are concurrent with the sentence for gross sexual imposition. Bartel will be on supervised probation for 10 years following his release from prison, must complete sex offender treatment in prison as a condition of release, and must register as a sex offender. He is allowed no contact with his victim or her parents, including through a third party. Bartel will receive credit for 255 days already served in jail and for any good time earned. He must also pay $1,525 in court costs.
Bartel is still in a relationship with a family member of the victim, based on statements made at the sentencing hearing. The no contact order does not apply to Bartel's fiancee, but Mattson cautioned Bartel that he is strictly prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with the victim through her relative.
Ward County Assistant State's Attorney Marie Miller told Mattson that the victim and her parents are in agreement with the terms of the plea deal.