CROWN POINT, Ind. (STMW) – A former Hammond band director will serve 30 years in prison, although the defendant said he didn’t expect to live longer than two years.
James Alan Ciammetti, 43, apologized during his Tuesday sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Hammond to the family of the 14-year-old student he was caught having an affair with. He took responsibility for his actions, calling them “irrational and indefensible.”
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“I apologize for the pain and suffering I have inflicted,” Ciammetti said, his voice breaking at times during his speech.
However, he also made several comments about his imminent death and referenced June 2012, a date he said was given to him. His attorney, Stephen Scheele, said afterward he did not know what Ciammetti meant by that.
“I do not anticipate to live to see the end of the prison sentence,” Ciammetti said.
During his speech, which lasted about 10 minutes, Ciammetti talked about how he has had suicidal thoughts and how he was “radioactive” to anyone around him.
The former Hammond Clark Middle/High School band director was arrested in 2008 after his victim’s father found sexually explicit messages Ciammetti had sent to the girl. A federal indictment claimed he had engaged in sexual activities with the student.
Ciammetti received psychological testing after he was arrested and was determined to be competent to stand trial. Ciammetti referenced Tuesday to having Asperger’s syndrome. Asked about that later, Scheele said he could not discuss his client’s medical history.
Ciammetti pleaded guilty a year ago to one count of enticing a minor and agreed in his plea agreement to a sentence of 30 years, which U.S. District Judge James Moody granted Tuesday.
Along with the prison time, Ciammetti also paid $26,200, which came from his retirement account, to the girl’s family.
Scheele said after the hearing the sentence was fair, pointing out that it fell in the middle of federal sentencing guideline range.
While Ciammetti apologized for the crime, he questioned the government’s motive in moving him to different federal prisons and the lack of music and other arts in the prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Benson went after Ciammetti for those comments, questioning what Ciammetti has to give up considering what he did to the student.
“What are her school memories going to be filled with?” Benson said.
The girl’s parents attended the hearing. They decided not to testify, Benson said, because they didn’t think they could speak civilly.
–Post-Tribune, via the Sun-Times Media Wire