A Litchfield man was sentenced to serve an initial three years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to visual sexual aggression against a child under 12.

Daniel S. Gauthier, 46, entered the plea Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center under the Alford doctrine, indicating he believed he would be convicted if a jury believed the evidence the state has.

The full sentence imposed by Justice Donald Marden — and supported by attorneys for the state and the defense — was five years in prison with all but the initial three suspended while Gauthier spends four years on probation.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian, said the offense occurred on Gauthier’s property between July 2013 and July 2017.

Gauthier’s attorney, Wenonah Wirick, said that while Gauthier disagreed with some facts in the case, “It’s clear to me he does not want (the victim) to go through testifying … Somebody did something to her; he denies it was him.”

Gauthier told the judge he wanted to plead guilty “for the sake of (the victim’s) mental health.”

Conditions of probation require Gauthier to undergo sex offender counseling and prohibit him from contact with the victim and all children under 16. He was also ordered to register for 25 years under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said afterward, “He does serve prison time, he does have a felony conviction and he is going to be on the sex offender registry.”

Wirick told the judge that the plea agreement was the result of extensive negotiations with the state and based partly on “the compelling nature of the testimony.” Wirick noted that initially Gauthier was charged with gross sexual assault on a child under 12, which carried a much greater penalty. Gauthier had been arrested on that charge in March. Other charges were dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Gauther was ordered to report to jail in Dec. 1 to begin serving the initial period of incarceration.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams

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