Robert Charles Hawley will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually abusing his three granddaughters. Despite overwhelming testimony and evidence presented during the trial, he maintained his innocence during his sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
Mr. Hawley was convicted of nine counts of child molestation and sexual assault on the victims and the special allegation that he committed sex crimes against multiple victims on March 25.
Those crimes include lewd acts on a child under 14, sexual penetration with a foreign object and forcible oral copulation.
One count of oral copulation or penetration of a child under 10-years-old was dismissed because the statute of limitations ran out.
The prosecution of Mr. Hawley was the result of the actions of a concerned citizen calling 911 when she observed Mr. Hawley engaging in inappropriate touching of a what appeared to be an underage girl in a local supermarket.
The caller provided authorities with a description of the subjects as well as a license plate of an associated vehicle.
Santa Barbara Police Detective Megan Harrison uncovered multiple additional women who had sexually victimized by Mr. Hawley.
“It is very important to my sisters and me that Robert Hawley be sentenced to the fullest extent of the law for his crimes against us. His crimes were numerous over a long period of time and we have suffered as a result,” wrote one of the victims in a victim impact statement.
Deputy District Attorney Lena Alker read the statement to Judge Brian Hill during sentencing in the Anacapa Division of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
The victim wrote that Mr. Hawley’s abuse drove one of her sisters to substance abuse and intense depression. “I do not pretend to know the full depth of the damage he has done to her, I would like to remind you of the images of young (victim) shown through the trial. The brilliant, creative, and smart child…None of us have seen her in a long time and it is completely Hawley’s fault,” wrote the victim who went on to describe her own emotional trauma.
“The incident when I was 11 had a multifaceted impact on me. Through therapy I discovered I formed two core beliefs about myself and the world…number one my body is disgusting. I am disgusting. Number two, people are not to be trusted. This has impacted my ability to have relationships and form friendships. I also struggle to treat myself with love and respect.”
Another victim wrote that she felt betrayed by her grandfather’s abuse.
“I am one sister of the three that you wrongfully touched. I am your granddaughter. I once looked up to you, trusted you, I cared for you and I loved you. To even repeat these words makes me absolutely sick,” she wrote in a statement read by Ms. Alker.
“I thought you were giving my sisters and I a fun loving childhood. Our mother, your daughter trusted you to care for us. Remember when you used to say ‘I love being the grandpa that I never had when I was growing up?'”
The victim said she didn’t understand that Mr. Hawley’s actions were abusive as a child and that she never thought her grandfather was “Monster.”
“You have annihilated my childhood memories…you stole my best friend, my sister. It kills me that you ripped her self worth right from her soul,” she wrote.
Case prosecutor Senior Deputy District Ben Ladinig said Mr. Hawley has shown no remorse for his actions and has been accused of sexual assault by multiple other women.
“When the probation officer wants to discuss the current offences he immediately goes after (the victim) calling her…an alcoholic who is angry at the world. He further goes on to say ‘my problem with women, when they don’t get their way they make false allegations.’ He also remarked ‘women are especially vengeful.’ That indicates even today even after the jury’s verdict Mr. Hawley still has not come to the ultimate appreciation of the evil that he committed on his own granddaughters,” said Mr. Ladinig.
Judge Hill sentenced Mr. Hawley to 32 years in prison, then a second term of 60 years to life in prison. He noted that given Mr. Hawley’s advanced age this is likely a life sentence.