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Published: Sunday, 8/26/2007

Day-care center owner gets 30-90 years in jail

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Clark Clark
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ADRIAN - An Adrian man who pleaded guilty to felony charges that he molested children at a day-care center in his home was sentenced Friday in Lenawee County Circuit Court to 30 to 90 years in prison.

Douglas Jay Clark, 53, was to be tried on 76 felony sex charges, including 65 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Instead, he took a plea agreement offered by the Lenawee County Prosecutor's Office.

Clark faced a minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison.

He pleaded guilty in July to four first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges for persons under the age of 13 and one second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for a person under age 13.

He also pleaded no contest to two first-degree sexual conduct charges. One pertained to a child under 13, the other for a child who was 14. Each count represents a different victim, so he pleaded guilty or no contest to molesting seven children, both male and female, under the age of 15.

The other 69 charges related to additional counts of abuse involving the same victims, officials said.

But the plea agreement provided that no new warrants could be issued in connection with two others believed to be victims. Authorities only learned of those two after the early stages of the investigation.

In addition, though all but seven counts were dismissed, all 76 counts were to be acknowledged for sentencing purposes, according to the plea agreement.

The charges stemmed from an Adrian police investigation into alleged abuse at Guardian Family Daycare, 1013 Erie St.

Police began to investigate the facility in March when a mother of a victim contacted police. Police found videos, photos, and a computer in Clark's day-care home. Clark had filmed and photographed many of his actions, authorities said.

Guardian Family Daycare received its initial three-year license from the Michigan Department of Human Services in 2002.

Police investigated Clark over two accusations of sexual assault in 2003, but the accuser declined to prosecute in one case and the prosecutor declined to authorize warrants in the second, Adrian police said.

The center's license was renewed in 2005.

State officials suspended the day-care's license on March 13 after the charges were filed.

The license allowed the center to have up to six children at a time.

Michigan has 16,500 licensed child-care facilities. About 8,000 of those are family day-care homes, a state human services department spokesman said.



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