THOUSAND OAKS, CA — Shortly after receiving a prison sentence Tuesday for sexually abusing a girl at church events and on church school grounds in 1988 and 1989, a former Thousand Oaks Baptist Church pastor wobbled inside an inmate holding cage and collapsed.
William Alan Malgren, who had just been sentenced to six years and four months in prison by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Clark, appeared to have fainted.
"Are you OK? Are you OK?" a bailiff asked him as other bailiffs called for medical help.
He was later revived.
Prosecutor Maeve Fox wasn't too sympathetic about a man who, she said, destroyed a girl's life.
"It is such a breach of trust, and it kind of rocks the foundation of everything we have been taught to believe in, which is that those kind of people are supposed to protect your children," Fox said.
Outside the courtroom, Malgren's lawyer, Lawrence Young, tried to put a positive spin on the sentence, noting that the judge could have sentenced Malgren to 12 years behind bars.
He said Malgren's family, which includes five children, are suffering.
"They are absolutely broken and destitute," Young said.
Malgren, 52, admitted to sexually abusing the girl when she was 7 or 8, but prosecutors, by law, couldn't charge Malgren with crimes that occurred before she was 14 years old, Fox said.
"She (the victim) wasn't into this for any kind of vindictive purposes. So I think the fact that he has to go to state prison makes a pretty good statement," Fox said. "I hope that she will be satisified with that. ... It's been rough for her."
Young asked Clark to put his client on probation and offer him therapy, noting that there were two dozen letters from people who speak highly of him and know his good works.
Fox told the judge that she was "shocked" to read some of the letters because they blamed the victim.
Earlier this year, Malgren tried unsuccessfully to withdraw his guilty plea.
Clark ruled that Malgren pleaded guilty "freely and voluntarily" to two counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and two counts of lewd acts on a child over 14.