PROVO, UTAH (AP) - The distraught father of The 5 Browns musical group pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing his daughters when they were children in a deal that will send him to prison for at least 10 years.
“He is terribly remorseful for what has happened and for what he has put his family through,” defense attorney Steven Shapiro said after the hearing. “He recognizes that this is the next step in the long road to trying to accept responsibility for something terrible that he did a long time ago.”
Dressed in dark slacks and a grey overcoat, Brown appeared in court with his sister-in-law by his side. He showed few signs of the horrific crash just three days earlier that police called an accident.
His response to the judge when asked for his plea on each charge was a barely audible, “guilty.”
Brown’s three daughters and two sons are part of the classical piano group The 5 Browns, whose albums have topped the classical music charts and who have appeared on “Oprah” and other shows. The group also has been profiled by “60 Minutes.”
Brown did not speak further during the hearing and declined to answer questions from reporters afterward. He remained free until his sentencing on March 31, after prosecutors said they do not consider him a threat.
Utah County prosecutors charged Brown with one first-degree felony count of sodomy on a child and two second-degree felony counts of sexual abuse of a child.
He could face a sentence of up to life in prison on the first-degree felony and up to 15 years each on the second-degree felonies. Under the plea deal with prosecutors, he will serve at least a decade in prison.
The records filed Feb. 10 in the abuse case don’t identify any victim by name or indicate the relationship between Keith Brown and the alleged victims.
However, Kimball Thomson, a spokesman for The 5 Browns, said the charges involve Brown’s daughters and group members Desirae, 32, Deondra, 30, and Melody, 26. He declined to release further information on the women.
The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they were sexually abused, but the Brown women have chosen to be identified and are cooperating with police, Thomson said.
None of the women were in court on Thursday, but in a statement issued to The AP late Thursday, Kimball said the sisters were satisfied with the plea agreement.
“The women were motivated to approach law enforcement out of concern for the welfare and protection of other young women and girls. All three sisters are at peace with the agreement that has been reached in this case,” Kimball said in the statement. “While clearly the current events surrounding the family are painful, the sisters were well prepared for this day, and are relieved and grateful to close this chapter in their lives.”