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DIGGING DEEPER: Man sentenced to 412.75 years in prison for abusing a child

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TUCSON (KVOA) -  A convicted sex offender received a lengthy prison sentence last spring.

David Wayne Lummus pleaded guilty to 23 felony counts involving crimes against children. The Digging Deeper Team uncovered court documents that would make one's stomach turn.

Det. Virgina Howard of Pima County Sheriff's Department said Lummus committed "some pretty unspeakable criminal acts."

The 47-year-old man abused a young boy who called Lummus "Uncle Dave". Lummus pleaded guilty to 23 of a 26 count indictment last Fall.

He pleaded guilty after Howard and the Crimes Against Children Unit served a search warrant at his house. 

"We obtained physical evidence, video imaging, evidence, DNA evidence," said Howard.

The five-page-indictment showed from July 1 through Aug. 30, Lummus committed two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and molestation of a child.

He pleaded no contest to those charges. However, he pleaded guilty to forgery, fraud, identity theft and 20 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor or child pornography.

His sentence included all 26 counts of the indictment - adding up to 412.75 years in jail.

A presentence report showed PCSD was alerted to the case nearly a year ago when the Department of Child Safety contacted them.

DCS was concerned about social media comments Lummus had posted. The victim, his siblings and their mother were living with Lummus.

The report also said the victim had told his mother what Lummus was doing to him.

Authorities said Lummus had made false reports.

"He was doing so in order to attempt to gain custody of the children," Howard said.

The investigator said Lummus also told authorities the children were being abused by their father. 

"We determined that was not the case," Howard said. "We found evidence indicating that he was forcing the children to say those things."

By Lummus pleading guilty, it kept the victim from having to face Uncle Dave in court.

"They were grateful - very glad," the detective said. "They were able to start the healing process at this point. "

It was at the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center where victims of abuse began to heal.

"Of the 9,000 cases that DCS investigates in a year, we see about 1,400 of them we're seeing the worst ones," said Marie Fordney, the executive director of the center.

Fordney would not comment on this specific case but spoke in general about victims of child abuse. 

"Child abuse is really devastating because it is a betrayal.  The person who should be protecting you is hurting you, instead," the executive director said. "It really has a strong impact on the children we see."

Fordney said many of these children will need long term therapy and the Advocacy Center provides that plus a warm and welcoming environment filled with toys, books and games.

The interview rooms are also equipped with cameras that record what the children experienced, so they do not have to relive their experience every time they need to speak to investigators.

"There is no reason why your abuse has to define you," Fordney said. "If something like this has happened to any of your viewers, it's never too late to get some help."

As for David Lummus, he will spend the rest of his life in prison where he will never hurt another child again.

For more information about the Southern Arizona Advocacy Center, visit sacacenter.org.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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