McGuire gets five years Former officer pleads guilty to sexual assault RICHARD PRIOR email@example.com Publication Date: 07/11/07 A former St. Augustine police officer, who also served four years as a Flagler County commissioner, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a girl under 16 years old. Patrick Lee McGuire, 45, could have received 15 years behind bars for each of the two counts. His prison term will be followed by 10 years of sex offender probation. McGuire told St. Johns Circuit Judge Wendy Berger that he had something to say to the victim and her family. However, he added, he didn't feel Tuesday was the time or the courtroom the place. The victim's uncle said the time would never be right. "The things that you need to say to people, you can take to the grave," he told McGuire. "They don't need to be said." Reading from the victim's statement, her uncle said, "I only regret that I did not (report) it sooner. You are a shadow of the past, something I will not taint my future with." The crimes, some of which went back to 1998, happened in Palm Coast. McGuire was removed from his position as executive director of the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association immediately following his arrest on Jan. 3. As head of the police officers' union, McGuire repeatedly called for an investigation into State Attorney John Tanner's own investigation into alleged inmate abuse at the Flagler County Jail. He also had been involved in union negotiations with the City of St. Augustine on behalf of police officers. As part of his plea on Tuesday, McGuire agreed to not seek early release from prison. He will have to undergo psychosexual treatment and forfeit all personal computers. He is to have no Internet access while he's on probation. Berger, who designated McGuire a sex offender, ordered him to have no contact with the victim and to pay for her counseling. In exchange for his plea, the prosecution agreed to not file any additional counts. McGuire was represented by Tallahassee attorneys Stephen S. Dobson and Richard Smith. Assistant State Attorney James Colaw of Gainesville prosecuted the case, which was moved from Flagler County after Circuit Judge Kim Hammond recused himself. A spokesperson with Tanner's office said his office did not prosecute McGuire because of the earlier, heated conflicts with the defendant. Through his attorneys, McGuire asked if he could live with his brother during his probation. Timothy McGuire of Palm Coast is also a registered sex offender, the attorneys said. Berger said she believed that should be left up to the Department of Corrections. The judge's expression, which grew darker as the proceedings went on, could have told the defendant what she was considering. It would not have been the first time she rejected an agreement between the prosecution and defense. In the end, however, she agreed to the deal that had been struck because the victim and her family had approved it. "The only reason I am going along with it is to provide closure for her so that she can move on," Berger said. "That's the only reason. "I can promise you this: if you violate your probation, then (the deal) is off the table." If McGuire does violate his probation, the court could vacate the agreement and sentence him to the 15-year maximum for each second-degree felony. McGuire turned himself in to the Criminal Investigation Division at Palm Coast on Jan. 3 and was released from the Flagler County Inmate Facility after posting a $50,000 bond. Berger on Tuesday gave him credit for the one day he served in jail. The police union in Port Orange on Jan. 4 announced McGuire had been removed as executive director because of the nature of the charges. "As an association that represents law enforcement officers, we feel swift action in this case is absolutely necessary," union president Vincent Champion said in a press release. "Such conduct, if true, is reprehensible and cannot be condoned," When McGuire was arrested, St. Augustine officials said he had worked for the city for several years during the 1980s before leaving to become a union employee. He ran for the Flagler County Commission as a Republican in 2000 and was elected. He was defeated in his re-election bid in 2004, losing to fellow Republican Jim O'Connell. During his term, McGuire was the focus of an investigation by Tanner into a Sunshine Law violation. In 2002, he and another commissioner were fined $500 each for violating the law because they discussed a vote on a noise ordinance after a commission meeting had adjourned, according to the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida.