James Bird gets 25 years to life for sexually abusing boys

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GOLDEN, Colo. — It’s a sex abuse case that has taken some bizarre twists and turns but it came to an end Friday.

The victims of former pilot James Craig Bird now have closure. Bird will begin serving a sentence of 25 years to life after pleading guilty to abusing several boys.

Bird met the boys through the former Heritage Christian Center. They bravely spoke out at Bird’s sentencing hearing in Jefferson County Friday.

Shaking and crying, they gave an account of what they called cruel and controlling treatment by Bird, saying the man who adopted two of them sexually abused, threatened and emotionally blackmailed them for years.

Bird had fled the U.S. and ended up in London before being extradited back to Colorado to face charges last fall.

He made a video in which he made a public plea touting his innocence. In the end, after listening to the victim’s explain how they still struggle to lead normal lives, judge Jane Tidball said Bird left “a trail of destruction” and that sentencing him to the maximum sentence of 25 years to life was “not a hard decision.”

Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Krislene Lorenz tells Fox 31, “To see the sentence be the maximum is very gratifying for us. We feel some measure of justice for victims was accomplished today.”

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