36 years for convicted molester
La PORTE – An unsettling case of broken trust came to a close in La Porte County Circuit Court on Thursday when 32-year-old Timothy Haigh was sentenced to 36 years in prison for molesting a young child.
Haigh was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 8 of three felony counts of child molesting and one felony count of attempted molesting. The victim, according to the court, was under the age of 12 at the time of the incident.
The Chicago resident was sentenced to 36 years on each of two Level 1 felony counts of molestation, and 6 years for a Level 4 felony count of molesting, with the sentences to be served concurrently. By law, Haigh must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence. The attempted molesting conviction was vacated.
Haigh was the longtime best friend and business partner of the victim’s father, and was even the best man at the victim’s parent’s wedding.
The parents often invited Haigh to stay overnight in their home and more than once was allowed to sleep in the bottom bunk of the victim’s bed, an offer he never declined.
It was only after the victim told his aunt that Haigh would sometimes enter his bed and “touch his crotch” that the parents became suspicious and installed a security camera in the bedroom.
During the trial, the jury saw the crime unfold as part of video evidence.
Judge Thomas Alevizos said during sentencing, “This is a rather troublesome case. I cannot ever in my career remember a time where the jury had to watch the event occur.”
Deputy La Porte County Prosecutor Julianne Havens argued that Haigh was in a position of trust and power over the victim. This was demonstrated in the video by the victim crawling out of the top bunk onto the bottom bunk after his mother tucked him in, as though he was told to do so.
Havens also insisted there was a lack of remorse by Haigh, who still maintains his innocence.
The victim’s father gave a victim impact statement which mentioned his fear of recalling Haigh’s former participation in a youth camp in New York, where he worked as a production supervisor for the theater program. The victim’s father claimed that during this time, Haigh would stay with groups of 6- to 8-year-olds overnight.
Haigh’s participation in the youth camp happened prior to the crimes for which he was convicted. Being that there was no evidence of wrongdoing at the camp, the judge dismissed it as conjecture, and was not able to include the information as an aggravating factor.
Alevizos still had harsh words for Haigh: “If I had to go with my gut, I’d give him 50 years and we’d be out of here.”
However, abiding by the law, the judge found that there were not enough aggravating factors to impose that long of a sentence.
Alevizos did, however, find Haigh’s lack of remorse a factor during sentencing, noting Haigh’s reactions on the video.
The judge said Haigh did not look remorseful in court, and looked to be enjoying himself on the video, saying, “I do find the demeanor and behavior to be somewhat indicative of lack of remorse.”
Alevizos also noted Haigh’s refusal to admit guilt in spite of the evidence against him.
In addition to the 36 years in prison, Haigh must have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family.
He will be credited for the 449 days served before sentencing, and is not a candidate for probation.
Haigh said he plans to appeal the case using a public defender.