Jonathan Scott Foote was sentenced Thursday to a prison term of 30 years to life for molesting a number of boys, most of whom were victims he supervised at Milhous Treatment Ranch.
Foote, 31, had pleaded no contest to five of 39 felony counts involving victims who were in their very early teens.
One of the victims, who is now 20 years old, had testified at a preliminary hearing into the evidence that Foote began having sex with him when he was 12 or 13.
Several other victims came forward who had been at Milhous, which at the time was serving severely emotionally disturbed children. They told investigators that they felt intimidated and manipulated by Foote and that they would suffer disciplinary actions if they declined to have sex with him.
At Foote’s sentencing in Nevada County Superior Court, one of the victims, and his father, spoke of the emotional devastation wrought by the molestation.
“I was completely taken advantage of … I was used and manipulated,” the young man, who was identified only as T.O., said. “He ruined my childhood.”
Both the victim and his father thanked the investigators and the prosecution team, but said they were concerned that 30 years was not enough time.
Judge Candace Heidelberger later noted that 30 years is the earliest Foote could be released, but said he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
T.O’s father praised his son’s courage and steadfastness, citing his pride in the fact that his son’s coming forward stopped Foote from victimizing other boys.
Foote’s attorney, Bill Walker, noted that Foote took a plea agreement in order not to put his victims through the ordeal of a trial.
“He has continually indicated to me his intention to try to limit the negative emotional impact of what has already been done,” Walker said. “He didn’t know why he was doing this, and he was glad he was caught. He wants to try and get help.”
Walker said that Foote, and his parents, did not have “the words to express their desire this had never happened,” adding that his client hoped he could demonstrate his sincerity to change.
Heidelberger thanked T.O. and the other victims for their courage in coming forward.
Foote had pleaded no contest to one count of continuous sexual abuse, with a special allegation of multiple victims younger than 14, and four counts of forcible oral copulation.
On one of those counts, he also admitted a special allegation of multiple victims.
The terms of parole were not clear, Heidelberger noted. The parole department could determine he would be on parole for 20 years, or for life; he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.