Man sentenced to 30 years under Adam Walsh Act

Billings, Montana (AP)  11-07

An Ashland man who sexually abused a 3-year-old girl has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, a term required under the Adam Walsh Act that toughened penalties for sex crimes against children.

U.S. District Judge Jack Shanstrom denied a defense motion to declare provisions of the law unconstitutional and sentenced Ricky Sandcrane, 20, on Wednesday.

Sandcrane pleaded guilty in May to the aggravated sexual abuse of a girl he was babysitting in Lame Deer. He apologized at his sentencing hearing.

Assistant Federal Defender Steve Babcock argued provisions of the Adam Walsh Act were unconstitutional because a non-Indian who was not under federal jurisdiction would have received a shorter sentence. He said Sandcrane would have faced less time if he had murdered the girl. He also said if Sandcrane had committed the crime 58 days earlier, before the new law went into effect, he would be facing 11 to 14 years in prison.

Babcock said the federal law did not allow consideration for Sandcrane’s background. He said Sandcrane was abandoned by his parents, sent to six foster homes, was sexually abused and had a history of substance abuse.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek said Babcock did not show the Adam Walsh Act was passed with an intent to discriminate and noted earlier Supreme Court rulings said the law did not lead to cruel and unusual punishment.