NEW LONDON, Connecticut – Navy sailor Randall Tilton was sentenced Tuesday to 210 years in federal prison for the sexual abuse of seven infants and toddlers in a case that U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer and government prosecutors have called the worst kind they’ve ever seen.
Before Meyer convicted Tilton, the parents of several of the victims spoke either through Zoom or in person at the New Haven Federal Courthouse, where Tilton sat, clad in a prison costume, wearing a face mask.
One mother described him as “a vile and inhuman creature.”
âI don’t wish you death, but a long life full of pain,â said another.
A father who went to court struggled to pass a rude sentence on Tilton.
“Please, Your Honor, never let him out,” said the mother of one of the victims. “He belongs to the general population (of the prison), and I understand what that would mean to him and I don’t care.”
Tilton made a statement apologizing to the victims.
“It’s not just the production of child pornography, video, pictures, for your own satisfaction, which isn’t even an accusation in this case,” Meyer told Tilton before handing down his sentence. âWhat really sets him apart are the dozens and dozens of practical acts of sexual abuse on seven children – far worse than the direct practices – that continue year after year.â¦ And for some of those children, it is is rape, there is no other word for it – rape of children who knew you and whom you knew could not complain. “
Pleading for a 30-year sentence, Moira Buckley, Federal Public Defender representing Tilton, said: âWe are asking for daylight at the end of the sentencing tunnel. â¦ His life is going to be a long prison sentence, whether he’s in prison or out. “
Meyer told Tilton he was troubled by his choice of victims – “children under your complete whim and control” – and was not convinced he was lenient by Tilton’s military service or that he had not been convicted of other crimes. The judge said he was not convinced Tilton would be rehabilitated in prison and was concerned that if Tilton was released in his 50s he could still inflict damage.
âI also think of the peace of mind for the victims,â Meyer said. “I heard them loud and clear.”
Meyer adopted prosecutors’ recommendation that Tilton serve his sentence at Federal Medical Center, Devens, a federal prison in eastern Massachusetts for male inmates requiring specialized or long-term medical or mental health care.
The sentence includes an order requiring Tilton to pay more than $ 900,000 in restitution to his victims.
Tilton, a New Hampshire native who was stationed at Naval Submarine Base Groton aboard the USS South Dakota as Second Class Machinists, waived his right to be charged and pleaded guilty in December of child pornography offenses related to his sexual abuse of two of the infants as young as 4 months and five toddlers, most of whom were around 3 years old when Tilton began abusing them.
Criminal activity spanned three states – California, New Hampshire and Connecticut – over a period of eight years.
Tilton violently raped the two infants and posted videos of his abuse on the dark web. He took pornographic photos of a Navy comrade’s 4-year-old daughter at a barbecue and raped and recorded videos of the 7-year-old daughter of a local woman he met on an app of meetings.
Tilton told investigators he abused his first victim more than 300 times. His rapes have become increasingly violent, prosecutors said, and a video of his rape has been viewed more than 100,000 times on the dark web. In forums on the dark web, Tilton has publicly stated how much he enjoys what he does.
âWhile it is difficult to imagine what would lead a person to sexually abuse a child, it is inconceivable that a person could be so inherently bad that they prey on infants. Randall Tilton, however, is the personification of this same evil, âhe added. US Attorney Nancy V. Gifford wrote in a 25-page sentencing memo filed in court this month.
“It’s hard to overstate – or even adequately state – the gruesome nature of Tilton’s crimes,” Gifford wrote in the memo, which at one point describes Tilton’s crimes as “among the most gruesome seen. in this district “.
Imposing the maximum sentence of 210 years – 30 years on each of the seven counts – Meyer adopted prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation. Seeking a 30-year sentence, Tilton and his attorneys had submitted a letter Tilton wrote to the judge in which Tilton called his actions “selfish, destructive, unnatural and evil.”
Prosecutors said that in another letter Tilton wrote from prison to someone he considers his grandfather, Tilton described his abuse – and how much he appreciated it – in detail.
“Tilton’s own words, captured in comments he made in dark web forums and creepy letters sent from prison, demonstrate that he reveled in the abuse and brutality he inflicted,” Gifford wrote.
Meyer called Tilton’s letter to grandfather “that remarkable letter you wrote.”
Tilton confessed to Groton Town Police that he assaulted his first victim when she was 6 months old, and investigators obtained 35 videos and 66 images of that abuse over the course of several years. The abuse didn’t end until Tilton was arrested, prosecutors said.
Investigators found more than 8,000 videos and photos of sexually abused infants and toddlers in Tilton’s possession.