Former Oldham County music minister sentenced to 30 years in prison on child sex charge
Howard Key Chambers took a plea agreement earlier this year and on Tuesday morning received the maximum sentence for the crime.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A former Oldham County music minister has been sentenced to 30 years in prison on a federal child sex charge.
Howard Key Chambers took a plea agreement earlier this year and on Tuesday morning received the maximum sentence for the crime. He admitted earlier this year to committing sex acts with a 10-year-old girl.
The decision to plead guilty back in April was part of a pre-arranged agreement. Chambers is part of a larger case involving a former community softball coach, Christopher Kosicki, who is currently serving 50 years for selling kids for sex acts on Craigslist.
Before Chambers was sentenced Tuesday, prosecutors called an Indiana detective with a FBI task force to testify on the timeline and details of the case. The detective said the Kosicki case led detectives to obtain a search warrant for Chambers’ home in 2014, during which they also interviewed him. The detective said Chambers admitted to putting ads on Craigslist for at least two years to meet young women.
The detective said Chambers told him he connected with Kosicki on Craigslist and agreed to go to his house in Louisville, expecting to have sex with him and his wife, who would role-play to be younger.
Instead, Chambers told detectives he met the young child when he got to Kosicki’s home. He told detectives the 10-year-old girl performed sex acts on him, and he returned six or eight more times between 2013 and August 2014. Documents show he paid $100 or more in some cases.
The detective showed Chambers a picture of a man, which didn’t show the man’s face, having sex acts performed on him by the young girl. Chambers identified the man in the picture as himself. Detectives asked Chambers why he never told police, and he replied he was scared he would be “outed” and held responsible if he didn’t go along with it.
On cross-examination, Chambers’ defense attorney asked the detective if Chambers had any other sexual encounters with other children. The detective testified based on the investigation that Chambers had not had sexual encounters with other children.
Next, the defense called four witnesses to testify about Chambers’ character and past. All four knew Chambers as either a family member or a friend. Chambers’ daughter told the judge her father was the best dad in the world and that she still supports her father.
“My dad did a terrible thing, and I know he is sorry," she said. "I’m sorry on behalf of him. But he spent the majority of his life doing good.”
Another friend of Chambers told the judge Chambers married and buried most of their congregation. The friend said Chambers was the man everyone could turn to for help and counseling in the church. The man also said there were many concerns in the church, and some members had to get counseling after they found out what Chambers did.
The defense was asking the judge for the minimum sentence of 15 years, saying Chambers would be 80 years old by the time he could be released.
“Despite what he’s done, and none of us can comprehend it, we still love him," another friend told the judge. "It’s our hope and prayer he can spend time with his family again.”
After the defense and prosecutors both addressed the judge to defend their sentencing requests, the victim’s mother spoke. She told the judge her daughter can’t sleep in her room and doesn’t have any friends. Between tears, the mother told the judge her daughter has no trust in anyone anymore and cannot be in a room alone with a male.
“Her trust is gone," she said as she looked at Chambers. "How do I fix that?”
Finally, Chambers stood to address the judge. He said he had dedicated his life to help others and will regret this for the rest of his life. He apologized to the young lady, his family, and society. He told the judge he regrets not rescuing the young woman from the horrible situation she was in.
“My prayer is she can live a normal life and can find it in her heart to forgive me,” he said.
Judge Joseph McKinley addressed the court to say he took into consideration Chambers’ past but also the nature of the crime. Judge McKinley said he’s seen too many tough cases and knows that often good people do bad things.
“He may have been the best dad in the world, but the worst nightmare for the victim," Judge McKinley said. "He may have been the most caring friend, but he didn’t care for the victim. He may have been the most helpful minister, but he never helped the victim.”
As some of Chambers’ family member broke out in tears in the courtroom, the judge said he believed the maximum sentence of 30 years was reasonable to punish Chambers, deter him from committing the crime again, and deter others from committing a similar crime. In addition to the 30-year sentence, Chambers will be required to serve a ten-year period of supervised release and register as a sex offender.
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