A former Columbia County commissioner convicted of child molestation was sentenced to prison Friday morning.
Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. ordered Scott Dean to serve 20 years in prison followed by 20 years of probation during a sentencing hearing in Evans.
“In my mind, he should be treated no differently than anyone else convicted of a similar crime,” Blanchard said.
A jury convicted Dean, 42, on Dec. 16 of two counts of child molestation. Each count carried a state-mandated sentence of five to 20 years.
Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, argued during the hearing that as a first offender Dean should have received a lighter sentence. Based on guidelines from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, Dean won’t be eligible for parole for 18 years.
After sentencing, Dean was returned to the Columbia County Detention Center where he had been held since his conviction.
The Columbia County jury found Dean guilty of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching his daughter, one of five children Dean and his wife adopted from Guatemala in 2008. The girl, now 17, claimed he came into her room at night and touched her.
Dean denied the charges when he testified at the trial.
He served on the Harlem City Council and more than five years as the city’s mayor before winning a seat to the county commission in July 2008.
Dean won the July 2010 Republican primary in the District 4 commission race despite being accused several weeks earlier of exchanging inappropriate text messages with a married county employee. He then ran unopposed in the November 2010 general election.
He resigned from the commission in February when he was indicted on the child molestation charges.