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Damien Kyhl sentencing

Damien Kyhl takes his seat in Hancock County District Court before his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 16, on two counts of third-degree sexual abuse. 

GARNER | A Britt man was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison Tuesday after accepting a plea deal in a child sexual abuse case. 

Damien Ian Kyhl, 36, was charged with sexually abusing two girls over a six-year period. 

"Thinking of you makes me sick," one of the girls wrote in a victim impact statement read aloud in Hancock County District Court during Kyhl's sentencing hearing. 

She wrote the Kyhl destroyed her self-esteem, self-image and self-love. 

However, "You don't have any power over me anymore," she stated. 

In her written statement, the other victim said she experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety because of Kyhl's actions. 

"I can't count the amount of times I cried myself to sleep," she wrote. "I thought it (the abuse) was my fault for years." 

However, she stated she is stronger now than ever and has even been able to forgive Kyhl. 

Kyhl originally was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, all felonies.

In Iowa law, rape and sexual assault are charged as sexual abuse.

On July 11, Kyhl entered a written Alford plea to the two counts of third-degree sexual abuse. An Alford plea is when a person does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors likely can prove the charge.

In the plea, Kyhl said he performed a sex act on two children between March to August 2017 and January 2014 to July 2016 in Hancock County, court documents said.

The maximum penalty for both charges include two prison terms up to 10 years.

Hancock County Attorney Robert Blake Norman and Kyhl's attorney, Richard Piscopo, made a joint recommendation to dismiss the two counts of second-degree sexual abuse.

A conviction of one count of second-degree sexual abuse in Iowa carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Both parties recommended Kyhl's two 10-year prison sentences be served at the same time, or concurrently. 

Piscopo said a trial would be "emotionally damaging for all involved," and the plea agreement will allow everyone to heal. 

Letter: Prosecutors should quit making plea deals with pedophiles

Judge DeDra Schroeder said although Kyhl has no prior felony convictions, he does have a lengthy criminal history stretching back to 2001 that includes assault. 

She also noted the pre-sentencing investigation report recommends consecutive sentencing for Kyhl, meaning he would be required to serve up to 20 years in prison. 

However, Schroeder said she would respect the joint recommendation of the state and defense for concurrent sentencing. 

Kyhl must pay a $1,000 fine on each of the two counts and register as a sex offender for life. In addition, he will be under lifetime supervision by the Iowa Department of Corrections after he is released from prison. 

Kyhl faced another charge, felony perjury, in relation to the sexual abuse charges. That charge was dismissed Tuesday. 

Law enforcement said Kyhl lied on a financial affidavit when applying for a court-appointed attorney Jan. 17 by not listing a number of his assets.

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