HUDSON — A Saratoga County man will spend 10 years behind bars for years of sexual abuse against two children.
Michael Bradford, 58, of Clifton Park, was sentenced Thursday to state prison for the sexual abuse 11 years ago of two girls under the age of 7.
Bradford was charged with first-degree criminal sexual act, a class B felony, and first-degree sexual abuse, a class D felony, last July 25.
Bradford was arrested by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office on an arrest warrant and later turned over to the custody of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Bradford’s victims were under 10 at the time the abuse began in Ghent. The Register-Star does not identify sexual assault victims.
In a strongly worded statement, the first of Bradford’s victims said that, for many years, he made her feel inhuman and dirty and made her hate herself and question her own self-worth.
“Michael Bradford, even though I hate what you did to me, I am proud of myself for going to the police,” she said in court before sentencing. “I am proud of myself for seeking help and I am proud of myself of going to therapy. I never in a million years thought I would get to this point. I thought I would remain the scared little girl I was before. But that is not true. That is not who I am anymore. I am beautiful. And I am not scared of you. You are the one in handcuffs with no control. And I am the one who put you here.”
Bradford received 7 years for first-degree sexual abuse and 10 years for first-degree criminal sex act. Both sentences will run concurrently.
Bradford waived a possible indictment by a grand jury after hearing the charges against him and pleaded guilty in exchange for the judge’s promise he would serve 10 years in prison.
Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek said that if he had read the victim impact statements before making the deal, he would not have acceded to the sentencing agreement. Victim impact statements are prepared as part of a pre-sentencing investigation after a defendant has already pleaded or been found guilty of a crime.
An order of protection was issued on behalf of the victims for the maximum until Jan. 17, 2038. Bradford will be required to register as a sex offender. Koweek ordered that transcripts of the victim statements be included in his file when he registers as a sex offender and when the terms of his probation are set.
Koweek said one of his greatest disappointments is that he will not be around when Bradford is released and Bradford has his sex offender registration hearing, saying he would impose the maximum restrictions.
“Now get him out of here,” Koweek added.
In her statement, the first of Bradford’s victims said it took her more than a decade to find the courage to speak about what he did to her.
“Michael thought he could shove two little girls in the dirt, but they rose up to bury him,” a family member of the two victims said as she read a statement to the court. “There is nothing in this world that will compensate [the victims] for what they have endured. There is no apology, no excuse, no atonement that will ever make this revolting crime ever disappear. We will all have to live with this forever.”
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation June 4, 2019 into a reported sexual offense that occurred in the town of Ghent in 2008 after the victim reported the abuse to Deputy Sheriff Ryan Boehme.
Sheriff’s Senior Investigator Mark Dunspaugh investigated the case and was there to support the victims in the courtroom.
“When Mark, the detective, spoke to me, I told him the truth and then I felt better,” the second, younger victim said in a written statement read aloud by a family friend. The victim was too emotional to speak.
“[Bradford] tried to cover it up but it didn’t work. He made me feel horrible and miserable. He tried to lie over it, and said he didn’t do it. I wanted to tell people what happened but I didn’t know how to speak up. I can’t remember how many times I was molested by him because I was little. I didn’t have a good childhood. I wanted to tell someone.”
The first victim described that, as she was sleeping, Bradford would sneak into her bedroom and perform sex acts on her, sometimes putting sugar on his genitals and repeatedly making her swallow urine.
“This happened so many times that I would lose count,” the first victim said. “I wanted him to stop so bad, but I was too scared to do something about it.”
When it was his turn to speak before sentencing, Bradford acknowledged the ripple effect his actions had on the victims and their families.
“I am truly sorry for my actions,” Bradford said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t have remorse.”
But the judge wasn’t buying Bradford’s statements.
“I think you’re sorry for having been caught,” Koweek said. “I think you’re shedding crocodile tears.”
Bradford is represented by Opal Hinds of Schenectady. Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty prosecuted the case.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.