FARGO, North Dakota — A judge has sentenced a North Dakota man to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing a girl in assaults that began about three years after he was released from prison for killing his infant son.
Prosecutors and a federal public defender had recommended a 20-year prison term for Erick McKay, of Devils Lake, but U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson ruled Monday that special circumstances warranted more time.
Erickson called McKay a danger to children and to the community. The judge earlier had sent notice to both sides that he was contemplating a sentence above federal guidelines.
McKay pleaded guilty in November to two counts of abusive sexual contact. The sentencing guidelines, a formula that takes into account factors such as the defendant's level of cooperation, acceptance of responsibility and criminal history, added up to about 10 years per count for McKay.
"A departure is permitted where there exists an aggravating circumstance that the guidelines do not adequately take into consideration," Erickson said in court documents.
A federal public defender could not be immediately reached for comment.
McKay previously was convicted in state court in 2002 of shaking his 7-week-old son to death and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He told a judge at the time that it was an accident.
McKay was released in 2008 and ordered to serve the rest of his time on probation. He was sent back to prison for another two years after he was convicted in Spirit Lake Tribal Court of public intoxication and failed to tell his probation officer.
Authorities said the sex abuse charges stemmed from incidents that happened between April 2011 and June 2012 while McKay was at someone else's home on Spirit Lake. McKay was prohibited by state law from having contact with children without authorization from his probation officer.
McKay forced the victim, who was younger than 12 years old, to have sexual contact with him "by the use of threat and force against her," authorities said.