As Judge Lawrence F. Clark sentenced 25-year-old Sammy Antonio White to 13 years in prison, those in support of White stood up and walked out of Courtroom 2B, visibly struggling to come to terms with what had just transpired.

“I hate this town, man,” White exclaimed, choking down sobs.

The case

In October 2015, White, who is from Red Wing, was charged with two counts of first-degree, two counts of second-degree and one gross misdemeanor count of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, after a mandated reporter alerted authorities to the possibility of White’s misconduct.

The victim, who was younger than 6 years old when the reported two-year span of abuse began, was taken to Children’s Hospital in St. Paul for physical exams. A child abuse specialist told investigators the injuries “were consistent with non-accidental trauma and appeared to have been caused by the child being hit with an object,” according to the complaint.

A Goodhue County Health and Human Services employee trained in child sexual abuse forensic interview techniques interviewed another child close to the situation Sept. 8.

The child said White told her “don’t talk about nothing … or else you can’t come home tomorrow” and when they get in trouble they get “whooped” with a belt, the complaint states.

The sentencing

White, who tearfully apologized to everyone involved with the case multiple times Thursday, maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings, stating he had evidence to prove it.

In a court trial in January, White was found guilty of four felony criminal sexual conduct charges - two first-degree, two second-degree - and one gross misdemeanor fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was convicted and sentenced on count one, first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

“I did not commit this offense,” he said, when given his chance to speak to the court. “I take full responsibility for my past.”

As a juvenile, White had two criminal sexual conduct cases against him adjudicated, something Goodhue County assistant attorney Erin Kuester made sure to emphasize.

“I see no remorse,” Kuester told the court Thursday. “He continues to deny, minimize and lie. Mr. White continues to present a significant risk to public safety, especially to children under 10.”

White said he’s not the “monster” the state made him out to be, that if he loses his family he is “nothing,” and he’s trying to change by reading the Bible and talking with a priest.

“I’m sorry I was born a big, black kid,” he said.

Doug Bayley, White’s attorney, asked the judge for leniency and said White was “trying to gain a new perspective on life.”

Clark rebuffed White’s assertions of innocence, stating he had no reason to believe any of the victim statements read Thursday were fabricated.

“I’m hopeful that (the victim) will, in the end, live a happy and healthy life,” he said before reading the sentence.

The 156-month sentence is in line with Minnesota sentencing guidelines. White is eligible for a conditional release after 10 years. Charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and misdemeanor domestic assault were dismissed. There was no adjudication on one first-degree, one second-degree and one fifth-degree count of criminal sexual conduct.

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