Boy asks judge to keep father from hurting him


A 10-year-old boy asked a district judge Tuesday to keep his father, who made him use methamphetamine, from hurting him anymore.

"I want to forget that you are my dad,'' said the boy, Morgan, testifying at Rob Bassett's sentencing. "I want to forget that I know him. He wasn't a good dad to me. He doesn't love me. All Rob has done is scare me. Please don't let him hurt me again."

Bassett in July pleaded guilty to one felony count of child abuse and neglect four days before his trial was to begin. In February 2008 Bassett, 39, and Morgan, then 7, both tested positive for meth. Authorities said Bassett, had primary custody of the boy at the time.

Bassett was sentenced to one to four years in prison by Judge Douglas Herndon, nearly the maximum allowed.

Bassett admitted he smoked drugs in the house while Morgan was there but denied forcing the boy to use drugs. He said Morgan must have inhaled it through second-hand smoke. He asked for probation so he could continue working and fight for custody of the boy.

Herndon described what the boy went through as "horrendous," and said he "can't in good conscious put you (Bassett) on probation. I don't buy that he (Morgan) ended up with the methamphetamine exposure the way you want to present it to me."

Morgan testified that his father taught him how to use drugs and would light a meth pipe for him.

"I smoked every day with Rob," Morgan said.

Morgan added that Bassett made him sell drugs in downtown alleys, often to people who were dirty and covered in tattoos. He said he lives in fear of his father, and had to be hospitalized because he was seeing Bassett "everywhere."

Morgan described how his teeth decayed, a common side effect of meth use, resulting in painful visits to the dentist and inability to eat potato chips because it hurts. Nor can he play sports that require running because the drug damaged his lungs.

Morgan's testimony was based on a statement he said he wrote earlier in the week. The only part he could not read, because he was embarrassed and afraid, referred to his sexual assault by Bassett and his girlfriend, who has not been charged.

After the sentence was handed down, Bassett, who sobbed throughout the hour-long hearing, began wailing and yelled "I didn't do it. I didn't do any of that." Then he became incoherent. Bassett could be heard wailing even after he was taken from the court in handcuffs.

A prosecutor said the sexual assault allegation will likely be forwarded to Las Vegas police for more investigation. Morgan now lives with his mother.

 

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