A 32-year-old Martell man went to prison for 50 to 70 years Monday for sexually assaulting two adolescent boys when he was in his 20s.
Robert G. Schuster, once known as Robert Mulder, chose not to say anything in court, opting to write a confidential letter to Lancaster County District Judge John Colborn.
But Deputy County Attorney Dan Packard asked for a significant sentence, saying the two victims in the case were 12 when he began abusing them in 2004 and 2005. One boy's case involved hundreds of sexual assaults; the other, two or three, he said.
Packard said the investigation that followed uncovered seven other potential victims.
Law enforcement began to focus on Schuster after a 19-year-old man went to sheriff’s deputies in May 2012 and told them Schuster had started sexually assaulting him in 2005.
At the time of the report, Schuster was in prison in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, for an assault involving sexual abuse involving the teenager's friend.
He soon faced charges in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, after allegations surfaced that he assaulted two boys during overnight trips to his apartment in Council Bluffs, and in Gage County, where he lived briefly in 2007.
Schuster, who turns 33 on Tuesday, has since gotten in Iowa a 10- to 30-year sentence, which was ordered to be served concurrent with the Nebraska case. Prosecutors dismissed the Gage County case last month.
At Monday's sentencing in Lincoln, his attorney, Webb Bancroft, said Schuster had elected not to put the victims through any more pain by going through a trial or being questioned under oath by attorneys.
Instead, he entered a no contest plea to two counts of first-degree sexual assault.
Bancroft said that as a boy Schuster witnessed sexual abuse and was subject to merciless bullying, but he had taken full responsibility for what he did and never said it was anyone else's fault.
"He is hopeful his sentencing will bring closure," he said.
At the end of the hearing, Colborn said the sentence must take into consideration the "protection of the public, especially young, vulnerable children."
"I cannot ignore the serious nature of each of these crimes," he said, then gave Schuster 25 to 35 years on each of the charges, to be served back to back.
Soon after, Schuster was led from the courtroom in handcuffs and shackles.
The sentence means he will be 57 before he's eligible for parole. If he doesn't get parole, he'll be 67 before he's released. Schuster also must register as a sex offender.
A woman in the courtroom on behalf of the victims declined to comment.