Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
The Pedophile Problem
Former Fugitive Child Rapist sentenced to 576 Years in Prison
Former Fugitive Child Rapist sentenced to 576 Years in Prison
Richard Heeringa made the U.S. Marshalls most wanted list after he fled Colorado the night before a jury found him guilty of 17 counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, and failure to register as a sex offender. In 2004 Heeringa was released after 12 years in a Michigan prison for sexual assault, but never registered as a sex offender. Instead, he moved to Colorado, reconnected with an ex-wife and began molesting her daughter. After he moved out in 2007, the girl reported the abuse to police. The Dever Channel reported her as saying, "He started abusing me emotionally, sexually and mentally." As a fugitive, he managed to elude capture for 18 months, but marshals caught up with him in a basement apartment in Detroit, where he was living under an assumed name.

Prosecutors found Heeringa to be one of the coldest and most calculating predators they had encountered to date. Heeringa believed he was railroaded by the system and asked for leniency. At his sentencing, he also laughed at the judge, Paul King, who told him, "If you're laughing now, stay tuned, you deserve every century that I'm going to give you." King sentenced Heeringa to 576 years. He won't have to worry about registering as a sex offender for a while.
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