BEDFORD - The Rev. Walter Bradshaw, a traveling preacher convicted of raping an 11-year-old girl in a Bedford motel room, will serve a 66- to 150-year prison sentence, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The minimum sentence - longer than Bradshaw's 63-year age - includes consecutive stretches for child rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated sexual assault.
President Judge Thomas Ling, who handed down the ruling, held Bradshaw's long life of religious service both as a means to avoid an even larger possible sentence and as a guarantee that he knew the gravity of his crime.
"There is no question he understood the wrongness of his actions," Ling said.
Surrounded by children's paintings in a room typically used for family court, Bradshaw calmly took notes as the judge read his sentence. His wife, his only supporter in attendance, sighed occasionally but showed little reaction.
Given a chance to speak before his sentencing, Bradshaw attacked his accuser's honesty and reaffirmed his innocence.
"If I were to drop dead here tonight, I know where I would go," he said.
Bradshaw described his accuser's family as dysfunctional, prone to squabbling and vindictiveness long before he met them through his religious work.
"I am sorry for one thing: I wish I'd never met those people in my life. ... A lot of it is her own making. Not mine. I had nothing to do with it," he said.
Bradshaw was convicted in September of assaulting the girl - a longtime family friend - in 2009 during an overnight hotel stay.
Despite Bradshaw's pleas that he was innocent, Ling proclaimed him a sexually violent predator, a lifetime title that would follow him in the unlikely event that he leaves prison.
"Mr. Bradshaw suffers from pedophilia," the judge said, citing a state expert's analysis of his sexual proclivities.
The expert, Herbert Hays of the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, said Bradshaw's relationship with his victim was characteristic of sexual grooming, or preparation for abuse.
"The relationship ... was predatory in nature," Ling said.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.