A Creve Coeur man was sentenced Monday to a combined 23-year prison term for sexually preying on a young girl a decade ago.

Several other young women also spoke in his sentence hearing of how Montgomery Ritchey, 50, sexually touched them as children. His judge said that played a role in setting Ritchey’s sentence.  

“Sex offenders, take note” that years may pass before their pre-adult victims find the courage to reveal their stories, said Tazewell County Circuit Judge Michael Risinger. 

“You left just a trail of misery in your path,” Risinger told Ritchey. “I don’t think any of it would’ve come out” if his victim, now 20, had not come forward 10 years after his assaults, which the woman said left her emotionally damaged. “You almost got away with it.”

Risinger sentenced Ritchey to 20 years on one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault of a child and three years each on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child. The latter terms, while concurrent, will be served in addition to the longer term, of which Ritchey must serve at least 85 percent.

A jury convicted Ritchey last March of the crimes in a three-day trial. Ritchey denied guilt in his testimony and declined to speak at his hearing Monday.

The woman told police in August 2017 that Ritchey’s assaults took place over two years after she turned 8 in 2007. State law allows sex assault charges to be filed “at any time” if the victim is a minor at the time of the incident.

Ritchey will receive credit for 85 days spent in custody, most of it after he was found guilty.