Realtor convicted of molesting children apologizes

SAN DIEGO — A local realtor who molested two underage girls apologized to his victims during a court hearing Friday, while those speaking on behalf of the victims said they could take solace in the fact that he will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Donald Edward Hickey, 62, pleaded guilty last month to five felonies, including lewd and lascivious acts with a child and possession of child pornography for material investigators found on three separate devices.

Hickey was initially set to be sentenced to a 25-years-to-life term on Friday, but the hearing was postponed until Sept. 6 so that an interview can be conducted for his probation report, which could affect his future in- custody housing considerations.

Prosecutors did not disclose how Hickey knew the victims, but according to Deputy District Attorney Stephen Marquardt, the molestations occurred sometime between 2009 and 2012 in San Diego County.

Hickey was arrested last year following a cyber tip sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The former Clairemont resident, who worked as a real estate agent out of La Jolla, was found to have “thousands” of videos and images of child pornography in his possession, some of which depicted Hickey abusing children.

“This defendant not only preyed on these children, but he also memorialized what he did so that he could retain a copy of the real-time abuse of those children,” Marquardt said.

Hickey’s attorney, Danielle Iredale, said Hickey was molested by a local man in his neighborhood when Hickey was between the ages of 10 and 12.

Hickey told those in attendance, “I’m sorry for everything that’s happened. I take responsibility for it and I hope they do heal from it.”

Despite the postponed sentencing, victims were allowed to speak Friday in case they could not attend Hickey’s sentencing next month.

One of the girls, identified in court only as Jane Doe 2, said she was working to put the experience behind her, and was working on forgiving Hickey, though “I am conflicted,” she said. “Because I don’t know how you came to be the way you are and feel sympathy for your sickness.”

She said she was nervous about speaking at the hearing, but would regret it if she didn’t. “No teenager should be in a situation where they sit down and think about what they’re going to say to a pedophile,” Jane Doe 2 said. “No parent should have to decide whether or not to tell their child that they have been assaulted. I hate that you put my family in that position.”

Jane Doe 1 did not attend the hearing. Her older sister told Hickey that she wanted to attend, but “was absolutely terrified to see your face.”

The mother of Jane Doe 1 said she “screamed and cried in absolute agony and devastation” when she discovered what had happened to her daughter, who she said still suffers from nightmares and trauma, according to her mother. “To find out the ugliness and deception of what you had been doing with my child is almost more than I can bear,” she said.

Hickey will remain in custody without bail until his sentencing hearing.

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