CRIME

Oklahoma man gets 5 years in prison in child sex abuse case

A former Oklahoma bail bondsman accused of traveling to Peru and having sex with underage girls has been sentenced to five years in a U.S. prison.

Robert Earl Pierce, 63, was also ordered to pay a $17,500 fine and he will have to register as a sex offender, The Oklahoman reported.

Court records allege Pierce took 30 trips to Peru from December 2005 to September 2013, when he was found in a hotel room with condoms, Viagra, large bags of candy, 26 U.S. $100 bills, gift books and extra-small women's undergarments.

Pierce pleaded guilty last year to engaging in an illicit sex act with one underage girl in Peru in 2012. Prosecutors on Monday said an investigation revealed three underage victims, two of whom were 15.

"For the rest of my life, I'll bear this shame, this humiliation, this stigma," Pierce told the judge Monday, his voice choked with emotion. "It will never go away I know."

Pierce was shown some leniency after cooperating in the prosecution of his friend, former attorney Michael Dean Billings, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Records show the men made trips to Iquitos, a poverty-stricken city in Peru that the FBI says is a known child sex-tourism site.

During the sentencing hearing, Pierce's defense attorney and the prosecutor said his downfall came when his longtime marriage fell apart after he returned from serving with the Oklahoma National Guard during the war in Iraq.

Records show he turned to Billings to be his divorce attorney, and the men began taking trips together. Pierce told the FBI Billings urged him to travel to Peru. Their most frequent destination was Iquitos.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com