Jeffrey Iverson Jr. dated or knew the mothers of four boys who were ages 10 to 13 when the abuse began.
Standing in front of the judge and a few feet from his sexual abuser, the man choked up.
Quickly composing himself, he began his victim impact statement before Friday's sentencing of Jeffrey Iverson Jr. He talked about how Iverson, a trusted family friend, took away his teenage years. How, on the outside, he seemed like a normal kid, but internally he had been crushed.
At 14, he attempted suicide in a bathtub. Now 21, he gets uncomfortable around his nephews, which pains him to no end, he said. He knows he needs several years of counselling.
Finishing his statement, the man asked Anoka County District Judge Kristin Larson to give Iverson, 31, the full 15 years that were recommended in a plea deal in October.
"You could be the one to save a future child's life from being like mine," the man told the judge.
When Iverson received the 15-year sentence, several people in the courtroom slapped their knees in delight.
Called case of 'grooming'
Iverson, of Cambridge, had pleaded guilty in October to sexually abusing two boys and admitted assaulting two others. Prosecutors said his case was a prime example of "grooming," in which Iverson dated or had a friendship with the children's mothers to get closer to the boys. He then would buy the boys presents and do things like take them on helicopter rides and exploit weaknesses with their parents, prosecutors said.
One of Iverson's victims came forward in March, setting off a chain of events that eventually led to Iverson being charged with assaulting four boys whose ages ranged from 10 to 13 when the abuse started. The victim who stepped forward in March said Iverson sometimes abused him while taking him for helicopter rides, according to court documents.
Joseph Tamburino, Iverson's attorney, argued that his client should receive a 12-year sentence because Iverson agreed to a plea, which meant the victims wouldn't have to testify in a trial. While expressing Iverson's regret for his crimes, Tamburino revealed that his client was sexually abused by a cousin as a child.
"It's not an excuse for his actions," Tamburino said. "His demons got to him and made him act out."
In addition to the 21-year-old, his mother and the mother of one of the other boys gave impact statements. Prosecutor Paul Young read a statement from a third mother. The fourth declined to give a statement but attended the hearing.
The first mother to speak stood next to her son, now 20, who she said he was too embarrassed to give a statement himself. She said Iverson was a predator and the boys were his prey.
"He chose to ruin not one life, but four lives," she said.
Referring to the boys' families and friends in the courtroom, she said "they all stand together and [the] defendant stands alone." After she spoke, her son and the 21-year-old hugged. The 21-year-old then joined his mother to speak in front of the judge.
"Over eight years, I let him [Iverson] get extremely close, and he was molesting my child," she said. "I have the guilt of not knowing what he was doing to my son."
When Iverson was asked by Larson if he wanted to speak, he said: "Words can't express how sorry I am to the community and the families. I'm terribly sorry for what I did."
Before handing down the sentence, Larson highlighted a few points from Iverson's pre-sentencing report. She said he was antisocial and assessed as somebody with a moderately high possibility to reoffend. She also said he showed a lack of empathy for his victims.
"He doesn't have to feel empathy," the 21-year-old said after the hearing. "He's serving 15 years in jail."
David Chanen • 612-673-4465