Convicted child molester Calvin Leon Burchfield turned 79 in jail on June 9.

Sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday morning in Whitfield County Superior Court, it is possible Burchfield will spend his remaining birthdays behind bars.

Before last fall, Burchfield had no criminal history, according to court records. Burchfield had lived what many would perceive as a normal life, according to testimony in court.

He served in the military from 1945 to 1947, then spent 30 years working in the public works department for the city of Dalton before he retired.

But on Oct. 15, 2005, Burchfield fondled a 7-year-old girl and told her not to tell, according to court records.

But she did tell and a Whitfield County jury believed her. Burchfield was convicted of child molestation on April 28.

“It has totally disrupted the lives of me and my family,” the girl’s mother testified Friday before Burchfield was sentenced. “For the most part this man has lived his life. She has to live with this the rest of her life.”

Burchfield’s niece, Linda Faye Williams, said in court her uncle had never hurt her or any of her children.

“His wife is very ill and will lose the limited income she gets from him,” Williams said.

Burchfield is ill as well, his attorney, Wayne Basford, said in court, with stents in his heart and suffering from cancer, like his wife.

In past court appearances, Burchfield showed up in overalls, breathing with the help of an oxygen tank. When he was escorted into court in handcuffs and leg shackles without an oxygen tank and sporting a new goatee and glasses on Friday, prosecutors did not recognize him.

Basford asked Judge Cindy Morris for probation, pointing out Burchfield’s age, health and lack of criminal history.

“We realize that this is a serious offense,” Basford said. “We just ask for the mercy of the court.”

Morris agreed with prosecutor Steve Spencer that it was not a probation case.

In sentencing Burchfield to prison, Morris said Burchfield showed a “complete and total lack of remorse.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Burchfield must serve 10 years on probation. He must be evaluated for sex offender treatment and not have any contact with his victim or his victim’s family.

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