MARTINEZ -- One by one, relatives and friends of Gordon Blake trooped to a courtroom podium Tuesday, assuring Judge John W. Kennedy that they knew a different man from the one convicted in June of 32 felonies for molesting boys in the 1990s.
"This whole thing is weird to me," said Greg Lynch, Blake's nephew. "These (victims) just showed up out of the blue last year. Have compassion on this good, kind man."
While not unmoved by the testimony, Kennedy, citing the law and evidence presented at trial, sentenced the Brentwood man to 194 years to life in prison.
"I fully understand the family's difficulty in accepting the jury's findings in this case," the judge said.
Blake, 53, was active in local politics, twice running unsuccessfully for state office. He was portrayed Tuesday as a church-goer, a good Samaritan and a dutiful uncle who enjoyed board games and making pancakes.
In January 2013, a prisoner in County Jail wrote letters to the Brentwood Police Department and the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office suggesting a darker side to Blake.
John Doe 3, who grew up in Blake's neighborhood and whose mother frequently left him in Blake's care, described being molested at Blake's house and in the community pool and spa. Eventually, three other John Does came forward. All four victims testified at the trial. None were present at the sentencing.
Blake's sister, Julie Lynch, found the allegations difficult to believe.
"We live in the same area," she said. "I'm over at his house several times a week. There are no kids hanging around his house and never were. He's a small business owner, part of the backbone of this country. Gordon Blake is not a danger to the community. He's an asset to the community."
Immediately before sentencing was imposed, Blake made a short statement.
"I would like to thank my family for standing with me," he said. "I am not the person who was portrayed here. That's not my character."
In making his ruling, Kennedy noted that the forced sexual abuse was "particularly callous and cruel. Some of the victims were particularly vulnerable due to the lack of family support and no father figures."
In addition, the judge cited Blake's testimony at trial, which he called "not credible" to the point of perjury. Finally, in explaining his decision to impose consecutive instead of concurrent sentences for the 32 counts, Kennedy cited "a consistent repetitive behavior with time between each act to consider the consequences of his actions."
At the outset of the hearing, Kennedy denied defense attorney Tom Johnson's motion for a new trial. After sentencing, Johnson expressed his intent to file an appeal before day's end.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.