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Boy Scout leaders sentenced for sex abuse

By CHRIS PARKS

ST. JOHNS, Mich. -- Two Boy Scout leaders, convicted of sexually abusing a member of their troop, were sentenced Monday to maximum life terms in prison.

Delmar Gowing, who was scoutmaster for Wacousta Troop 60, and his twin brother, Donald, who was assistant scoutmaster, pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 13-year-old Scout.

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Donald Gowing, 47, appeared shaken as the sentence was pronounced by Clinton County Circuit Judge Randy Tahvonen. Delmar wept when his brother's sentence was pronounced. He subsequently received the same punishment.

The judge stressed the impact of child sex abuse crime on the community and the victim.

Tahvonen told the brothers that child sex abuse tears apart the 'fabric of the community,' which is based on mutual trust, in addition to harming the victims.

'If you're asking for mercy, you came to the wrong place,' Tahvonen told Donald Gowing. 'My job is to be just.'

The Gowings were among four men who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a sex abuse scandal involving Troop 60 in Wacousta, a small community near Lansing.

Still awaiting sentencing are Donald Gowing's 18-year-old son, Jeffrey, and Donald Bushard, 20. All four convictions involved the same 13-year-old victim.

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Tahvonen's sentence exceeded state guidelines for such cases as well as a recommendation in the pre-sentencing report.

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