Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall made no attempt to hide his disdain this week in sentencing a convicted child molester.
Here are his excerpted comments in court as he sentenced 48-year-old Michael J. Pearson on one count each of child molestation and aggravated sexual battery on Pearson's 5-year-old step-granddaughter.
The offenses occurred in 2001 while the girl was living with Pearson and his wife in a Hapeville motel.
The assistant district attorney is Rewa Collier, who is asked by the judge about the calls Pearson made from jail, attempting to enlist his wife in discouraging the victim from testifying. The victim's name has been redacted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Schwall: Now it is my time to speak.
Your perverted and morally repugnant conduct is most repulsive and despicable and cuts to the core of evil. Clearly, you have no conscience. What you are and do and what you are all about is offensive to the souls and the conscience of a civilized society.
Children are wonderful, and one of the most enchanting things about children is their absolute innocence. Their unconditional love and the unconditional trust of people they think love them and people they clearly love.
The past is an indicator of future conduct, absent any meaningful willingness or attempt to change the conduct. I have heard from the state that I didn't allow the jury to hear that there were — how many phone calls from this inmate from the jail to the grandmother of these three or four children who have been molested?
Schwall: And those were collect phone calls from this defendant to the grandmother of those children?
Collier: Yes, judge.
Schwall: And on the tapes, there is tape-recordings that say that — and that I would not let into evidence — that say certain things. What is it that the tapes said?
Collier: The gist of the tapes will say in summary over and over and over again: Make sure that [victim's name] doesn't come down here to testify because if she testifies, then I'm gone. So make sure that she does not testify. And it just says it over and over, and I'm going to ask for a jury trial, if she doesn't come down here to testify then they'll have to dismiss it. Make sure she doesn't testify. And she actually carried out those conversations in the form of contacting her daughters. She contacted [one daughter] and [that daughter] was the one who contacted [the victim] with the messages from the grandmother not to come down here and testify.
Schwall: The grandmother of these children, your wife, is a coward. She is a coward because she can't come and sit in this courtroom and let all these jurors see that you're more important to her as a sexual predator than her grandchildren. She is a coward because she can have all these phone conversations and try to influence witnesses and try to tamper with witnesses, but she can't come here and let this jury see her face, and I cannot imagine the mothers of these children allowing them to have anything to do with the woman you're married to. And if I look or sound upset, I am. I am going to impute the conduct of the grandmother to you.
She is despicable and disgusting, and she is morally bankrupt. She has chosen evil — and you are evil — over what is right and good and moral. I'm going to make the following findings of fact in this sentencing. That you are a sexual predator. That you are an extreme danger to society as a whole, and especially to children.
I am going to make a finding that rehabilitation, whether it was tried with you or not, failed. And I am going to make a finding that you did not even seek rehabilitation. I'm going to also find that you were somehow paroled from a 10-year sentence of these types of charges in Illinois, and that you committed this offense while on the Sex Offender Registry. I'm going to make a finding there is absolutely no way you can ever be rehabilitated. I'm going to make a finding that if you get out of jail on parole that it is my earnest and profound belief that you will victimize children.
You have no redeeming qualities. You are of no use to society. I hereby sentence you to life in prison on count one. On count two, the aggravated sexual battery, I hereby sentence you to 20 years consecutive, to come after the life sentence.
It is the intention of this Court that I sentence you to the absolute maximum that I can put you in prison, the absolute maximum, and it is my reading of the statutes that I have — and I am going to instruct the District Attorney's Office to send the sentencing part of this transcript to the Board of Pardon and Parole, and I want the Board of Pardons and Parole to know that I am vehemently, adamantly, without equivocation of any kind or type whatsoever, opposed to parole for this defendant ever.
And I want the Parole Board to be aware of the fact that I guarantee the Parole Board if this defendant is ever released from prison for the rest of his life that he will victimize innocent children.