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Father of music group members pleads guilty
PROVO, UTAH (AP) - His voice barely audible, the patriarch of the acclaimed 5 Browns classical music group said "guilty" to each charge of sexually abusing his three daughters when they were children.
Thursday's admission in a Provo courtroom means that Keith Brown, 55, will go to prison for at least 10 years.
None of the sisters were in court, but a statement issued to The Associated Press by group spokesman Kimball Thomson said they were satisfied with the plea agreement.
"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," Kimball said.
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 appeared in Fourth District Count with scratches and bruises on his face but with few other signs of the horrific crash three days earlier in which his Porsche plunged 300 feet into a canyon, also injuring his wife.
"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."
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.
Brown chose to enter the plea to bring a quick resolution to the case and did not want to "exacerbate the harm" by dragging out the proceedings, Shapiro said.
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, Thomson 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.
Kimball said the Brown sisters appreciate the respect shown to them by police and prosecutors, who sought their input at each stage of the case. He said none of the Brown siblings want to talk publicly at this time.
Thomson said the Brown children severed their professional relationship with Keith Brown in October of 2008. He was once the manager of The 5 Browns but now has no connection, Thomson said.
Court documents state the allegations stem from separate occasions between November 1990 and October 1992, November 1990 and November 1992, and March 1997 and March 1998 in Utah County.
There are no statutes of limitation in Utah that prevent prosecutors from filing such sex crime charges.
Utah County prosecutor David Sturgill said Lone Peak police brought the case to his office last year.
Police were first contacted by Brown's daughters.
"I think this deal was good for both sides," Sturgill said. "This is something the victims wanted resolved, and I think the plea bargain is going to satisfy their needs."
Brown and Lisa Brown, 54, the mother of the group members, were hospitalized after the Valentine's Day crash that left the Porsche mangled and unrecognizable in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the east side of the Salt Lake valley.
The Browns were initially knocked unconscious, but Keith Brown woke and was able to call 911 from a cell phone.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, although Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said speed appeared to be a factor in the accident.
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