LINCOLN – A Lincoln judge sentenced a 57-year-old Eagle man to 14 to 22 years in prison Thursday for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.

Terry A. Thornburg pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree sexual assault of a child.

On July 2, Thornburg made a rambling statement about how he had been selling drugs to the girl’s parents and how the girl allegedly had asked him if they could be husband and wife before telling the judge: “I’m sorry that this happened.”

His attorney, Mark Rappl, said Thornburg was low-functioning, has impulse-control issues and had a methamphetamine addiction at the time.

Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Amy Goodro said Thornburg has yet to take any responsibility for his actions but had been grooming the girl. This wasn’t a statutory rape case where the girl just wasn’t old enough by law to consent, she said.

“This was a 55-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl,” Goodro said.

On Dec. 2, 2018, York police found the girl at a motel with Thornburg and contacted Lincoln police after she said Thornburg had given her the hickey on her neck, according to an affidavit for his arrest.

The girl later told a forensic interviewer that they had sex three months earlier at a home in Lincoln.

Lancaster County District Judge Robert Otte said Thornburg had been a trusted adult and hadn’t taken responsibility for his actions.

“Protection of the public is in order,” he said before sending him to prison.

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