Man jailed 7years for child abuse


A Roanoke man who abused a 5-year-old girl — beating her and, at times, forcing her to put her face in her own feces — was sentenced this week for child abuse and unlawful wounding.

Gary Dale McDow Jr. pleaded guilty to the charges in April, and on Monday he was given seven years in prison, a broad departure from state judicial guidelines, which recommended penalties ranging from seven months to a little over two years.

In explaining his decision, Judge Charlie Dorsey cited the victim impact report, which said that while in McDow’s care across June and July 2015, the girl suffered “significant bruising,” received injuries that eventually led to the removal of two teeth and was forced to endure traumatizing punishments as penalties for bathroom accidents.

“She was severely physically abused and systematically tortured,” Dorsey said of the victim at the end of McDow’s hearing. “For all of those reasons, the guidelines are inappropriate.”

McDow has also been ordered to pay $24,960 in restitution, will carry eight years in suspended time and will no longer be allowed to have contact with anyone under the age of 18. Through his plea agreement, the initial charge of malicious wounding was amended to unlawful wounding and two counts of child endangerment were dropped.

These offenses also violate a 2013 conviction McDow carries for grand larceny, and he was given another 10 months to serve for that.

During the hearing, McDow testified that for the past three years, he’s been abusing drugs, specifically heroin, and he said he suffers from anger management issues and bipolar disorder.

McDow’s mother, Patricia Rickerd, said in court that he was introduced to drugs early on by a family member and that his later move to heroin had completely changed his personality for the worst.

“It was unbearable,” Rickerd recalled.

McDow’s teenage son, Nicolas Havenstein, told Dorsey that the effect the drugs had was far worse than a dramatic shift in his father’s persona.

“It wasn’t even that I got a new dad. I didn’t have one,” he said, but added that his father’s rehabilitation while in prison had astonished him.

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