KEY POINTS

  • Dante Larks was convicted on multiple sexual abuse charges after a three-week trial
  • Larks faces 142 years in prison
  • His sentencing is scheduled for July 11

A Colorado man faces more than a century in prison after being convicted of multiple child abuse charges in what prosecutors described as the most "horrific" case of abuse ever witnessed. 

An investigation that began in 2019 revealed that 43-year-old Dante Larks from Dacono kept an unidentified child locked up in his unfinished basement, where the victim was sexually assaulted multiple times over several months, often threatened with a gun.

Larks did not allow the child to leave the basement, except for a few hours during the day, and the child was often forced to use the bathroom in a bucket. The victim just had "peanuts" as food for most of the days, which Larks threw at the child downstairs, Law & Crime reported.

The court found Larks guilty of sexual assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse causing serious bodily injury, and two counts of sexual assault on a child over abuse by someone in a position of trust and pattern of abuse, prosecutors said in a  news release  Thursday.

Although it is unclear what the exact relationship between Larks and the victim was, incest charges filed against him suggest the victim was a close family member.

"This case is by far, one of the most horrific and egregious cases that our office has ever seen," Weld District Attorney Michael Rourke said. "No child should ever experience the horror and trauma that this child will now have to live forever with. This is why we do what we do each day. We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure monsters like this will never have an opportunity to harm another child," Rourke added.

Rourke also observed that the case could have national implications as it is the first time prosecutors won convincing a jury of the long-term impact that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has on the brain, which in this case also resulted in serious bodily injury. "This is monumental as we move forward and prosecute other egregious cases like this one," Rourke said.

Larks was convicted after a trial that lasted three weeks. He faces 142 years to life in the Colorado Department of Corrections and the court has scheduled his sentencing for July 11.

gavel-6485824_1920 Representation. A gavel. Photo: VBlock/Pixabay