YORK — A Clover man on Tuesday recited Bible passages and blamed the devil for the crimes he committed before a judge sentenced him to eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually molesting three girls, one of whom he victimized twice more than 20 years ago.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles ruled that Herman Lee Archies sentence will run concurrently for two counts of lewd acts upon a child and one count of criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Hell receive credit for the 156 days hes already served in jail.
Archie, 47, has been held at the York County Detention Center without bond since July, when he was accused of inappropriately touching a 3-year-old girl. The girl had been sleeping in her room when Archie crept in and began fondling her, said Jenny Desch, assistant 16th Circuit Court solicitor.
Archies son walked in on his father, who claimed the devil made me do it and then fled the home, leading deputies on a chase through the woods before they caught him, Desch said.
At the time, Archie was scheduled to go to trial two weeks later to answer for three other similar incidents. In 1987, Archies sister-in-law, then 10, said she had been sleeping at her parents home when she felt someone touching her. She woke up and found Herman crouched on the floor, Desch said.
Archie left the room. The girl kept quiet about the incident. A year later, he allegedly touched her again. Archie was married to the girls older sister.
The girl, now a 35-year-old woman, only recently disclosed her abuse to her family after learning that child molesters commonly target more than one child in a family unit, the solicitor said.
The victim stood in court Tuesday and read a letter describing how Archie teased and harassed her for years.
He would try to force me to kiss him, she said in the note. I feared what he might do to me next.
In 2010, the womans 5-year-old niece said that Archie also touched her. Now 7, she, too, wrote a note that Desch read aloud.
You should be ashamed of yourself Herman for what you did to me, she wrote. I cry all the time. Im a little girl. I should not have to be like this.
It has ripped the family apart, said Desch, who added that she usually asks for defendants to receive some kind of rehabilitation in prison. In this case, Im asking for punishment.
She requested the maximum 15-year sentence for all three charges.
Archies attorney, York County Public Defender Dan Hall, told Judge Nettles that Archie grew up in the foster care system, where he suffered years of abuse.
Archie, who said he cries everyday, began quoting chapters of 1 Samuel in the Bible, which gives the account of an evil spirit entering King Saul. Archie claimed he underwent a similar experience with the devil in what Hall described as a spiritual battle his clients fought for years.
Desch said a fellow inmate told prosecutors that Archie spoke about what he did to his victims, his battles with temptation and described, in detail, one victims appearance after taking a bath.
He has no prior criminal history. Conditions of his sentence include registering as a sex offender and no contact with children.
Advocates with Rock Hills Safe Passage encourage victims to understand that they wont find healing through the justice system, said Jane Alleva, the shelters interim director. The healing begins by telling your story and seeking justice. It may or may not come by the sentencing or outcome of it.
Sexual assault victims who try to find vindication in the legal system are subject to the same emotions they endured after the initial abuse if theyre dissatisfied with a sentencing, Alleva said.
They can go through having nightmares, they wont leave their homes, Alleva said. All of a sudden, theyre not functioning in relationships.
When their attackers complete their sentence, victims are prone to suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Alleva said.
Itll feel like theyre being victimized again, she said.
Jonathan McFadden 803-329-4082