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Rapist sentenced to 14 years; Family Violence Response Team credited

Dennis DeGroat
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
February 6, 2013

Dennis DeGroat, 39, of Bloomingburg, will be spending 13 years in prison with 10 years of post-release supervision for the rape of a girl who was 13 years old.

Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell said that DeGroat admitted to twice having sex with the girl in the early part of 2012; the admission spared the victim from having to testify in open court.

DeGroat was sentenced to six years in prison on the first rape and seven years in prison on the second rape, with those sentences to run consecutively.

After an investigation by the Sullivan County Family Violence Response Team (FVRT) in June 2012, he was arrested. The FVRT was formed in the wake of the murder of Christopher Gardner, who was a three-year-old child when, a jury found, he was beaten to death in 1998 by his mother and two of her friends because they thought the child had stolen candy from them.

FVRT is staffed by social workers from Sullivan County, an investigator from the New York State Police and a member of the district attorney’s office. Their focus is the sexual and physical abuse of children, and they have been successful in detecting, investigating and prosecuting offenders who victimize children.

“The team has worked very hard to bring some measure of justice to the child victims of sexual assault. The victims of these crimes are extremely courageous and brave for coming forward, and we must ensure that the adults who harm these children are held accountable and that other victims feel comfortable in coming forward. The sentence imposed by the court today does that,” Farrell said.

DeGroat was ordered to stay away from the victim, ordered to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison, and fined more than $10,000.