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A Charles County judge sentenced a Florida man to 25 years in prison Thursday for molesting a girl beginning in 1998 when she was 3 or 4 and continuing the abuse until 2010.

Mark Kenneth Kleinsorge, 65, of North Port, Fla., pleaded guilty to one count of sexual child abuse, which occurred during December 2009.

He had been charged with 12 total counts of sexual child abuse, ranging from June 1998 to June 2010, along with counts of child abuse, attempted second-degree sex offense and attempted unnatural or perverted practice.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the remaining charges and Kleinsorge agreed to serve concurrent 25-year prison sentences in both Maryland and Florida, where he was charged with abusing the same girl.

Federal and state law also require that he register as a lifetime Tier III sex offender.

During Kleinsorge’s hearing Thursday, the girl’s family — who occupied more than two rows of seating in Circuit Judge Robert C. Nalley’s courtroom — dabbed their eyes and sobbed as Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany L. Rodenberger read the facts as she would have presented them had the case proceeded to a trial.

The abuse was originally reported in June to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, after the girl became worried that two young children she saw Kleinsorge with might fall victim to the same abuse she endured, Rodenberger said.

The girl told investigators that Kleinsorge repeatedly molested her at her Waldorf home and while she was visiting him in Florida.

“It is not all that unusual for someone who has been abused in this way to come forward, as has apparently happened here, when that person sees that someone else might be prone to the same kind of abuse,” Nalley said later during the hearing.

Rodenberger stated that a detective monitored a phone call between the girl, now 17, and Kleinsorge, during which he confessed to and apologized for the abuse.

“I’m sorry; it’s like an evil took over,” Rodenberger quoted Kleinsorge as saying during the phone conversation.

Charles County officers obtained an arrest warrant for Kleinsorge and contacted Florida police, who conducted their own investigation before arresting Kleinsorge on Aug. 7, charging him with three counts of lewd and lascivious behavior along with two counts of sex offense against a child younger than 12, according to online court records.

Kleinsorge was subsequently extradited to Maryland to be prosecuted.

The girl opted not to speak at the hearing Thursday, but her parents read a statement in court.

“It is impossible to know the extent of the damage this lifetime of abuse has caused,” the girl’s mother read aloud.

She recalled the night she first learned about the abuse from her daughter as “the single worst night of our lives.”

”She’s a strong young lady, and I admire her for the strength she has shown,” the mother said.

Rodenberger also expressed admiration for the victim’s bravery in coming forward.

“Despite what the offender did to her,” Rodenberger said, “I have no doubt that she’ll be able to do whatever she wants to do. She really is a special young lady.”

Defense attorney Megan E. Coleman said Kleinsorge would serve his sentence in Florida, where state law requires that he spend at least 85 percent of it — 21 years and 3 months — in prison, ensuring that the earliest he can be paroled is at age 86.

“This sentence is essentially a life sentence for him,” Coleman said, adding that her client was “remorseful” and had “accepted responsibility.”

When given a chance to speak by Nalley, Kleinsorge stood up in his orange jumpsuit and faced his victim and her family.

“For all the pain that I’ve caused your family, my deepest apologies,” he said.

To the girl specifically, he said, “You are a victim, and you don’t deserve it.”

Nalley handed down the sentence as stipulated in the plea agreement and expressed regret that Kleinsorge’s actions had “affected so many lives.”

“We all have urges of one sort or another, wholesome or not, but what comes through in something like this is the unadulterated, unreserved selfishness, the persistence in satisfying one’s own urges, desires, wishes, pleasures, at the expense of someone else,” Nalley said. “That is the part of this that is so damned difficult to accept.”

jnewman@somdnews.com