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Molester sentenced to 75 years


Local hotel owner abused adopted sons, another boy

A local hotel owner found guilty of child molestation was sentenced Wednesday to 75 years to life in prison. The case of John Krueger, who was convicted of molesting children adopted from Ukraine, led to that government's recent ban on unmarried foreigners adopting Ukrainian children, said Deputy District Attorney John Lua. Attempts to reach the Ukrainian consulate in San Francisco were unsuccessful.

Krueger, who ran Quality Inn at 1011 Oak St.,must serve 85 percent of his 75-year sentence before he will be eligible for parole. He was denied probation on all counts, Lua said.

The 53-year-old was convicted in November of molesting two of his adopted sons and a boy who is not his. Four adopted Ukrainian victims were alleged -- three were his adopted sons, the fourth was the children's friend, Lua said. The prosecution said he molested the third son, but that son denied ever being touched inappropriately and the jury did not find him guilty on that charge, Lua said.

His attorney, George Woodworth, said Krueger is in "good spirits," but concerned that he "didn't achieve justice." Woodworth said he will file an appeal. "Again, we have faced a situation where we didn't get justice," he said. Kern County Superior Court Judge Stephen P. Gildner denied the defense's motion for a new trial. In requesting a new trial, Woodworth, a Norwalk attorney, cited, among other things, prosecutorial misconduct in referring to Krueger as an animal and previous uncharged allegations of molestation possibly inflaming the jury.

Krueger remained calm and looked away as family members of the victims made emotional statements in court Wednesday. The families called Krueger a "predator" who damaged the boys' lives and trust in others. The foster father of one of Krueger's adopted sons broke down and had to stop in the middle of reading his family's statement.

(The Californian's policy is to not identify victims of sexual assault. By identifying their family members, the victims could be at risk of identification.)

After the sentencing, the families hugged and cried. "It's over," said the smiling foster mother of one of Krueger's adopted sons.

"He got what he deserved," she added later. She said her foster son is doing well. When he first joined her family, the emotional trauma of the abuse led the boy to lash out against other children. Now he's calmer. Krueger was also denied visitation to the boys and ordered to pay for counseling for the victims.

Lua said he was "extremely happy" with the outcome.

2007 Apr 5