The world was dimly lit, the teenager wrote in a letter, when she was sexually assaulted by an Eagle Mountain man in the basement of his home.
She said the lights were always off and windows were covered by blinds when Benjamin Joseph Norman, 43, would lead her to a massage table and call his sexual abuse a type of chi massage.
During the sentencing for Norman in 4th District Court on Tuesday morning, Judge Lynn Davis called the teenager’s letter “very articulate.”
“The basement window and blinds that shut out the light are now open, and I’m grateful for that,” Davis said.
He sentenced Norman to prison for 26 years to life for sexually abusing and assaulting three girls for nearly two years.
“This is extreme cruelty and disgusting because of multiple victims. It is abhorrent,” Davis said. “But they are remarkable and they are healing.”
Norman will serve 15 years to life for aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony; one to 15 years for sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; and 5 years to life for two counts of rape, both first-degree felonies.
Utah County deputy attorney Lauren Hunt confirmed each sentence will run consecutively and Norman will not receive credit for time spent in jail as the case dragged on for three years.
“He’s trying to manipulate your honor, he’s trying to manipulate this court and he is trying to manipulate these girls,” she said during the sentencing. “I hope Mr. Norman spends every day of the rest of his life in prison.”
Norman was initially charged with 63 felony charges for multiple counts of rape, object rape, forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual abuse of a child and sexual exploitation of a minor. Most of the charges were dismissed when he accepted a plea deal in September.
Sgt. Jason Randall with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit called the case “one of the most egregious cases, if not the most egregious case” he had ever investigated.
According to charges, Norman sexually abused and assaulted three girls and recorded the abuse on a hidden video camera.
In September 2016, Randall said his team arrested Norman in the middle of adjusting one of his hidden cameras in the bathroom in hopes of extending the battery life.
“The level of manipulation he chose to use to fulfill his carnal desires on children is beyond the pale, which is why I use the term monster, because it fits,” he said during the sentencing.
The Provo courtroom was packed with friends and family of the three girls who gave comfort and statements of support during the sentencing.
The mother of one of the girls said she found out about the abuse after finding pornographic images that Norman had taken using her daughter’s phone.
“He had her climb into bed with him and broke her heart just like it was nothing,” she said through tears. “I’m sorry I couldn’t stop it earlier.”
One of the girls also spoke at the sentencing, stating she hopes Norman rots in prison and never has the chance to abuse another person.
“This is supposed to be my body and you violated it,” she said. “I hope you know you did not ruin me. You have broken me, but I can put myself back together in time.”