July 03 / 2019
AMERICAN FORK, Utah — A filmmaker who co-founded the Sundance Film Festival and produced a movie whose lead actress won an Oscar in the mid-1980s was sentenced Tuesday to at least six years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a child.
The judge who delivered the sentence of six years to life said that he hopes the parole board will keep 72-year-old Sterling Van Wagenen in prison longer than the minimum.
Judge Robert Griffin commended the young victim for reporting what happened. Prosecutors say Van Wagenen touched a young girl on two occasions between 2013 and 2015.
“You did the right thing and you’re not responsible for anything that happened and anything that will happen,” said Griffin during the hearing south of Salt Lake City. “You’re a brave young lady.”
The sister of the victim, whose name The Associated Press is withholding because she is a victim of sexual abuse, read a letter on her sister’s behalf blasting Van Wagenen for lying and being a coward.