DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver man convicted of sexually assaulting children at the a church day care center was given the maximum sentence in court on Friday.
Benjamin Janicki, 20, pleaded guilty in May to two counts of first degree assault and two counts of attempted sexual assault on a child. He molested nine children, between the ages of three and five, at the Park Hill United Methodist Church.
Janicki worked as an aid at Park Hill United last summer when he was 19.
Janicki’s sentence is for 40 years in prison. It also includes 10 years of sex offender intensive supervised probation — that means he’ll be under a strict watch when he gets out of prison. If he violates that probation, he will have to go back to prison for possibly an additional 12 years.
Janicki will have to serve at least 75 percent of the prison sentence because it is designated as a crime of violence.
At Thursday’s sentencing, three parents spoke about the chaos and devastation the abused has caused their children, their families as well as the day care center, the church and the community. A letter was read from another family.
A Denver police detective also spoke during the sentencing. He said the Janicki would refer to himself as the “Tickle Monster” except that the tickling turned into molestation. The detective said Janicki took innocent games that parents might play with their children and turned them into sex games.
Parents at the sentencing talked about how their children were forced to watch Janicki molest other kids right in front of them. One parent said while they were all on a camping trip with Janicki, he was molesting children on the bus. In this case, the woman was only standing a few yards away and didn’t know what was happening.
Janicki would fill his pockets with candy and lure the children onto the bus.
At the sentencing, families talked about how the abuse tore them apart, and even turned them on each other.
“People want to spread the blame around, so obviously friendships were broken from this, trust was broken, kids were torn out of their peer groups. I can just say that what he did left such a level of chaos,” said the mother of one victim Judy Walgren.
Janicki’s mother, aunt and grandparents spoke to the judge. His mother, Patty Janicki, said, “Ben is an incredibly caring person who looks to help others before he helps himself. I will be here to assist Ben and support him through this and I ask that you provide him with a chance.”
Janicki did speak to the judge, although he was nearly incomprehensible during the sentencing hearing. He repeatedly told the judge that he denied being guilty of the disgusting accusations. Janicki claimed he wouldn’t harm children and that he would rather harm himself. He said the children must have misunderstood him.