Editor’s note: This story contains descriptions of a crime that many may find difficult to read.
TWIN FALLS • Some gasped, some wept and some remained silent Tuesday as Kandi Mohr was sentenced to life in prison.
After hearing arguments from both sides detailing eight years of sexual abuse of a little girl, Twin Falls County District Judge Richard Bevan left the room so he could collect his thoughts.
When he returned to the bench 15 minutes later, he told the packed courtroom that Mohr’s sentence had weighed on him since she pleaded guilty in February.
Bevan said he has been a judge for nine years, a prosecutor before that and an attorney for 25 years and he’s never come across a crime like Mohr’s.
“I’ve never seen a case that approached the depravity, cruelty and harm to a child,” he said.
As a judge, Bevan said, he has a responsibility to show that children who are harmed like the victim in this case will get a response from the court.
Bevan said he could not comprehend the crimes, which included Mohr holding the girl down while she was raped.
Mohr, 46, along with David Michael Meyers, 45, pleaded guilty to several crimes related to the ongoing sexual abuse of a child starting when she was 2 or 3 years old until she was 11. The two were arrested in October 2012.
Last week, Meyers was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years. Mohr also has the possibility of getting out of prison in 20 years.
Before Bevan sentenced Mohr, Twin Falls County Deputy Prosecutor Rosemary Emory outlined Mohr’s charges and asked for a sentence of 20 years to life.
Mohr was charged with aiding and abetting lewd conduct with a minor, injury to a child and sexual abuse of a child.
“They only stopped because they were arrested,” Emory said.
Emory described how Mohr admitted to abusing other children and being present when Meyers and another man abused the victim in this case and other children.
“You cannot give a child back her innocence,” Emory said, calling the abuse a “recurring nightmare” for the victim.
The most disturbing thing Emory said she read in a presentence report was that Mohr said the little girl was responsible for the abuse because she was overly affectionate, loving and wanted it.
The victim’s grandmother told the court her family had no idea the abuse was happening.
“Kandi is a monster,” she said.
The girl’s uncle also spoke and said he watched the victim grow up without knowing what was happening to her. He said the girl is beginning to heal through counseling.
“I pray that someday we’ll all be able to heal from this,” he said.
Mohr’s mother, Julia Bourn, spoke at the hearing, and said she hoped her daughter would be able to get treatment.
“It’s a terrible sickness,” she said.
Mohr’s attorney, George Essma called his client’s crimes “terrible, unspeakable and hard to understand.”
Essma pointed out that Mohr did not commit the crimes alone.
Essma referred to the presentence report and said that the doctor who conducted it said Mohr’s responses reflected someone at the beginning stages of sex offender treatment.
Mohr is amenable to treatment, he said, and asked that she be placed in an inpatient sexual treatment program, rather than going straight to prison.
“It’s easy to punish Kandi Mohr,” he said. “I don’t think it fixes the problem other than everyone feels better because we punished this sexual deviant.”
Essma also asked that Bevan give Mohr a shorter mandatory stay in prison. A mandatory three to five year prison term, plus a long period of parole would mean Mohr could get treatment and be supervised in the community, Essma said.
Mohr, speaking through tears, said she takes full responsibility for her actions. Mohr said she didn’t mean to hurt the children or disappoint her family.
“I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me,” she said. “I’m just asking for some help.”