Nevada County judge sentences Robert Taylor to 30 years to life on molestation charges
August 5, 2017
Robert Lewis Taylor, convicted on six counts of making lewd acts against a child, was sentenced Friday, Aug.4, in Nevada County Superior Court to 30 years to life in prison.
Taylor, 52, faced a possible sentence of 90 years to life, though Deputy District Attorney Jesse Wilson requested the 30-to-life sentence, saying it was warranted for each of the two victims.
Judge Robert Tamietti agreed, though he said recent changes to the law make Taylor’s possible parole date unknown.
District Attorney Cliff Newell said of the victims in a statement: “We hope the justice system, although sometimes slow, has renewed their faith in themselves and the process and they are able to move forward in life in a positive direction with this behind them.”
Jody Schutz, Taylor’s public defender, argued that her client’s personal history warranted a sentence of only 15-to-life. Several people spoke to the judge in support of Taylor, including his mother and one of his daughters.
After hearing from both supporters and detractors of Taylor, Tamietti said he couldn’t ignore a jury that spent three weeks hearing testimony followed by three full days of deliberation.
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That jury, which heard the case in Truckee, convicted Taylor in May on six counts. They acquitted him on a seventh count and reached no decision on five other charges.
“You may disbelieve that,” Tamietti said. “I’m not free to ignore it.”
Victims, family members and friends approached a lectern in the courtroom, reading from letters about how Taylor had affected them.
“You took my value away,” one victim told him.
The victim, who said she continues to love Taylor despite his actions, told him that he’d become a stranger. His denials cost her friends and led people to call her a liar.
Her mother called Taylor someone easy to trust.
“I loved you so fiercely,” she said. “You were my best friend. I trusted you with my hopes, my dreams, my secrets, and my fears.”
And then the mother said she realized she truly didn’t know Taylor.
“If I can be so wrong about you, who can I trust?” she asked.
One man, reading a letter written by a deaf girl who prosecutors said was a victim, told the judge that Taylor doesn’t know the pain he’s caused. Jurors chose against convicting Taylor on any charges stemming from that girl’s accusations.
“‘You knew we were hurting and you made it 100 times worse by forcing us to testify,'” the man read. “Don’t you think it was ironic that me, the deaf girl, that broke the silence? Think about that.'”
Taylor’s family called him a good man and loving parent. They denied all accusations that he molested children.
“Rob loved being a parent,” said Kathy Greenwood, Taylor’s mother. “That Rob would hurt a child is incomprehensible.”
Miah Taylor, one of Taylor’s daughters, said she and her sister Madison were her father’s first priority. She said her father couldn’t hurt anyone.
Reading from her sister Madison’s statement, Miah Taylor called one of the victim’s dishonest in her attempt to gain attention, something she never had from her own family.
“‘It is amazing what can happen inside the human brain when it’s been coached for years,'” she read.
Before handing down Taylor’s sentence, Tamietti told an anecdote from his years as a YMCA director. Decades ago he recruited, trained, and monitored camp counselors. His best was a man called “Wonderful Bob.”
Wonderful Bob was the best in reaching troubled youth. His cabin had the most spirit and Tamietti considered him the best counselor.
Years later, Tamietti by chance saw a television show that focused on the problems of recidivism — the issue of people regularly returning to prison. It focused on three different people. One of them was Wonderful Bob, incarcerated on molestation accusations.
“I sat there horrified, literally sick to my stomach,” the judge said. “To think that I had missed those signs.”
Tamietti then made his point: People are complicated.
“No matter how well we think we know them,” he said, “we probably only know what they show us.”