A veteran volunteer security guard for two professional soccer teams who pleaded guilty in April to committing sex crimes against two boys under 13, one of whom was autistic, was sentenced in Santa Clara County Superior Court Friday to 15 years to life in prison.
Judge Patricia Lucas sentenced Thomas Anderson, 76, of San Jose, to 15 years to life in prison on two felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 years of age.
Those charges stem from an incident between December 2008 and July 2009 involving an 11-year-old boy and another incident between April 2002 and April 2005 involving a boy who was 8 to 10 years old. The victims are now 16 and 12 years old.
He was arrested July 24, 2009, after two witnesses reported seeing him act inappropriately with a child during a soccer game that month, according to the district attorney's office.
Mothers of both victims addressed the court today and expressed regret for not having reported the allegations to police earlier.
"I think you are a coward, building trust with the kids and their families and then preying on them," said the mother of the 12-year-old. "It's harder for me to trust people now, it's harder for me to trust myself now."
The mother of the autistic child tearfully said she, too, trusted Anderson and that he blew her trust.
"My son's a really innocent kid, he's not like a typical teenager because of his autism," she said.
Prosecutor Bill Butler said he felt the sentence was appropriate given the age of the boys and because he violated their trust.
"They all knew him," Butler said. "These boys looked at him as a grandfather figure."
But Anderson's foster son, Michael Donaldson, defended his father and said he was a better person because of him.
"Dad, as you embark on this next journey, know that I love you and know that I'm not standing behind you, I'm standing beside you," Donaldson said.
Anderson pleaded guilty to the charges in April as part of a negotiated settlement with the district attorney's office after initially pleading not guilty in January.
He was originally charged with nine felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 years of age.
Anderson had been a local volunteer security guard in Santa Clara for two years and had worked with area soccer teams for about 20 years.