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Scappoose man gets 12 years in prison for child molestation

Judge: Fitzgibbons is a danger to community

COURTNEY VAUGHN - Paul Murray Fitzgibbons sits handcuffed in a Columbia County courtroom Wednesday, July 22. Fitzgibbons was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for molesting two young girls.A Scappoose man convicted of sexually molesting two young girls was sentenced Wednesday, July 22, to more than 12 years in prison and 10 years of post-prison probation.

Paul Murray Fitzgibbons, 38, was found guilty of three counts of first-degree sexual abuse in May, after two sisters, both younger than 12, alleged Fitzgibbons touched them inappropriately on separate occasions while he was dating their mother between February 2011 and November 2012. One of the girls was younger than 7 at the time, according to court records.

In a Columbia County Circuit Court room Wednesday, Fitzgibbons was calm and at times seemed jovial during his sentencing hearing.

“I wish everybody the best. I can’t hate people for things. It is what it is,” Fitzgibbons said. Addressing Columbia Circuit Judge Jenefer Grant, he said, “Whatever you decide, I’ll live with it. It sucks that it happened.”

Grant was unimpressed.

“I believe you have been a danger in the community,” she told Fitzgibbons. “I’m not sensing any sense of responsibility or remorse from you, and that makes you a dangerous person.”

Fitzgibbons’ three convictions all came with mandatory minimum sentences of 75 months in prison. Judge Grant agreed to run two of the sentences concurrently, meaning Fitzgibbons will only need to serve two back-to-back 75-month terms to satisfy all three sentences.

During the hearing, the victims’ father, whose name is being withheld to protect the victims’ privacy, said he suspects it will be “a long road” for his daughters to psychologically recover.

“I don’t know that there is any amount of time that will [fix] this,” he said.

John Berg, who prosecuted the case on behalf of the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, said the mother of the young girls who Fitzgibbons molested was drinking heavily at the time of the abuse. Furthermore, he said he received testimony that suggests Fitzgibbons may have targeted drunk women.

“After the verdict, I got a call from a bartender in Scappoose and she basically said this guy’s been hanging around the bars and he’s been preying on intoxicated women,” Berg said after the sentencing hearing.

In addition to prison time, Fitzgibbons will be required to register as a sex offender. He will receive credit for time already served in Columbia County Jail.