Fadely sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison

By Perry Backus

HAMILTON – A 24-year-old Stevensville man was sentenced Thursday to 22 1/2 years in the Montana State Prison, with an additional 22 1/2 years suspended, for repeatedly raping two young girls.

Brandon Thomas Fadely – a former Stevensville High student body president and Eagle Scout – was quickly led from Ravalli County District Judge Jeffrey Langton’s courtroom while his wife cried and one of his victims watched following the hearing.

Fadely was sentenced on the three felony counts he pleaded guilty to earlier this year as part of a plea bargain that dropped four additional charges.

Before that happened, one of his victims – now 21 – had the chance to face Fadely and tell him of the long-lasting impacts his abuse has had on her life.

She was in third grade when she went to live with the Fadely family in Stevensville as a foster child.

“They took me away from a bad situation in my other home,” the woman said. “There had been sexual abuse there.”

But she didn’t find the protection she needed in the Fadely home.

Two weeks after she and her two younger sisters moved in with their new foster family, Fadely crawled into the top bunk with her and put his hand over her mouth while pointing down toward her little sister.

“He started to have sex with me,” she said.

She said she was afraid that if she didn’t let him do that, he would attack her sister. The woman said the abuse continued almost nightly for two years.

“I still have flashbacks. Out-of-body experiences. Night terrors,” she said. “I wake up feeling like I’m screaming – it’s night after night, again and again. It doesn’t go away.”

The woman said the abuse left so much physical scarring that she’s unable to have children.

“We’ve been trying for over a year,” she said. “I’ve had two miscarriages. I’d like to see Brandon punished. He did something wrong. He did it twice. He obviously knew what he was doing.”

“Life in prison seems fair,” she said. “I don’t think he should die, but he should suffer for what he did.”

During the hearing, Langton also reviewed a tape of a forensic interview completed at Emma’s House in Hamilton with the other victim in the case.

After listening to the girl describe different incidents of sexual abuse by Fadely, Emma’s House director Valerie Widmer asked her how many times she thought the abuse happened.

“How many days are there in a year?” the girl replied.

“365”

“Probably three years of it,” the girl said. “Most days in each year.”

While members of Fadely’s family were in the courtroom, none took the stand Thursday to offer their support. Langton said he had received letters of support from Fadely’s family and friends.

When it came time for Fadely to speak, he didn’t offer an apology to the victim sitting in the courtroom.

He told the judge that he had made “grave mistakes” in his life and was doing what he could to make amends to better himself and those around him.

Langton told him that these weren’t mistakes. These offenses occurred in his family home against two young girls who were placed there to be under their protection, the judge said.

“These girls were substantially younger than you,” Langton said. “To refer to this as a mistake … it’s a mistake that happened over and over and over for years. At some point, you can’t call it a mistake.”

“These were deliberate acts on two young girls for your own sexual gratification,” he said. “These were extremely vulnerable children who had already suffered far too much. You had a special responsibility as a brother to protect them. Instead you exploited them, raped them, molested them and made implied threats.”

The pattern of abuse continued after Fadely became an adult. It even continued after he returned from a two-year mission with his church, Langton said.

Court records said Fadely was between 12 and 21 years old when the abuse occurred.

The judge said he was concerned about Fadely’s lack of remorse.

“Any human being would have to know the effect you were having on your victims,” he said. “When you came back from your mission, you didn’t care about her mental state. What concerned you was your own sexual gratification.”

“I don’t know how to treat that,” Langton said. “How do you give a person a conscience, if they don’t have one already?”

Langton said the pre-sentence report told him that Fadely’s wife has to monitor him when he goes online to ensure that he’s not accessing pornography or doing something else wrong.

“That’s not the role of a wife,” he said. “There has to be an internal control. Either you have it or you don’t.”

Langton said he was very concerned about the issue of community safety in this case.

Fadely’s abuse left two girls with physical and psychological scars that will last forever, he said.

“You have given them a life sentence,” Langton said. “They are not eligible for parole.”

Hannah Honey