Adoptive Father Pleads Guilty To Abusing Sons, Friend
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A carpenter who was one of the first single men in Florida to adopt children pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing four boys, including three of his adopted sons.
David Allen Lindsey Sr., 45, agreed to accept a 15-year prison sentence under the plea bargain. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Thomas Sholts also extended Lindsey’s three-year probation on a separate molestation conviction to 10 years.
Lindsey declined to comment on the plea deal as he was fingerprinted in the courtroom, handcuffed and led away to a courthouse holding cell, but his lawyer, Richard Lubin, said later that Lindsey maintains he is innocent despite the formal acknowledgement of guilt.
″It was a pragmatic decision that he made,″ Lubin said. ″He learned at his last trial that whether there’s reasonable doubt or not, you can easily be convicted of child abuse.″
On Sept. 28, Lindsey was convicted of lewd assault on a 14-year-old boy. He was sentenced Nov. 11 to 5 1/2 years in prison and three years of probation and forbidden to have contact with children under age 16.
David Lindsey Jr., one of 11 boys adopted by Lindsey and his adopted father’s chief accuser, said he was relieved to see the 2 1/2 -year legal process end. ″It’s been a long-awaited day,″ the younger Lindsey said, ″and I’m glad it’s here and we don’t have to go through a trial.
″I think it serves the interests of all of us in the long run,″ he said of the plea bargain.
Lindsey faced 17 sex-related charges before Thursday’s hearing, all involving three of his adopted sons and a fourth boy, a friend of one of the sons.
Under the plea arrangement, Lindsey pleaded guilty to one charge each against the four boys, and the remaining 13 charges were dropped.
One of those four charges Lindsey pleaded guilty to involved a boy under 12 and carried a mandatory 25-year sentence. That charge had been reduced as part of the plea agreement.
In addition, Lindsey cannot be prosecuted for any illegal sexual activity occuring before the plea.
Lindsey’s sentence also prohibits any contact with children under age 16 during his ten years of probation, and includes psychiatric treatment. Lindsey agreed under the plan to drop his appeal of the earlier conviction.
Supporters of the elder Lindsey attending the hearing included his wife - whom he married after adopting the boys - his mother, his two sisters and four of his other adopted sons, who have backed him since his arrest in June 1987.
Single-parent adoptions were a rarity in 1969, when Lindsey first asked permission to adopt a son. After two years of volunteer work at an orphanage, he was given his first son.
By 1981, his family had grown to include five boys, the fifth being his namesake, David Jr. After a series of quarrels with his adoptive father in 1987, David. Jr. went to authorities with his allegations.