A judge sentenced a Torrington man to more than five years in prison Friday for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Shelton he had enticed over the internet while pretending to be a teenager.
Christopher Galvin, 45, had pleaded guilty in January to second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor, and enticing a minor by computer.
Shelton police began investigating the case in March 2017, when the victim complained that Galvin had sexually assaulted her after she had fallen asleep in his car.
By that point she was 17 — though the relationship between Galvin and the victim in the case began over the internet years before.
At first, the girl thought she was talking to a boy who who was in his late teens. But instead it was Galvin, who was pushing 40.
The victim told police Galvin eventually pressured her into having sex with him in the back of his Subaru when she was 13, and that “she felt terrible afterwards.”
Eventually, Shelton police obtained search warrants for his emails with the victim, which revealed mentions of sexual encounters the two had and also included messages where Galvin pressured the girl to send dirty pictures of herself.
In court Friday, Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Bepko read a letter from the victim, who is now in college, and said that she can’t go to a party without getting paranoid or worrying about one of her friends being raped.
“By the grace of God, none of my injuries were physical,” she said, while noting that “the actions of Mr. Galvin caused me extreme emotional distress.”
Despite help through therapy, the victim said, she still feels the effects.
“I lost my spirit to defend myself against anyone,” she said. “Instead, I just break down and cry, wishing that I was someone else or somewhere else. I’m terrified of confrontation. I hurt my relationships because I can’t communicate.
“I just want him to go away for as long as possible, and want him to be a registered sex offender for as long as possible,” the victim said. “Anything to make sure that he won’t and can’t continue being a child predator will be amazing to me, because I want no one else to suffer at the hands of a monster.”
Galvin’s lawyer, George Boath, said his Galvin’s criminal behavior began after his father died by suicide in 2013 and his marriage fell apart. He said Galvin has since accepted responsibility.
“He blames no one else but himself,” Boath said.
After his mother asked the judge for lenience, Galvin apologized to the victim when given the opportunity to speak.
“I recognize this was wholly my fault and I accept full responsibility for my actions,” he said. “I want to wish her the best and (to) have a wonderful life.”
Judge Peter Brown said he hopes Galvin can “find a way to deal with the issues that led to these offenses” — before noting the consequences continue to affect the victim.
“The actions of Mr. Galvin are not excusable,” the judge said. “I understand the circumstances. I understand the fact that he apologizes now for what happened and is willing to take full responsibility for it. Nonetheless, the victim in this matter has suffered psychologically. She’s made that quite clear. Certain things you can never take back.”
The judge then sentenced Galvin to 20 years in prison to be suspended after he serves five and a half years, followed by 10 years of probation.
While on probation, Galvin will have to be a registered sex offender and have no contact with minors without prior approval.
The judge also issued a protective order barring Galvin from contacting the victim for the next 50 years.