HOLLIDAYSBURG - Walter A. Becker of Dysart was never arrested until he was 78 years old.
Since then, he has been arrested for four sexual offenses against women, and Becker was sentenced Thursday to one to two years in state prison despite his pleas that his health was deteriorating behind bars.
Dabbing his eyes with a tissue, Becker said, "I'm sorry it happened. It won't happen again."
He admitted that he needs counseling.
"I can't stand being in jail. It's ruining my life. I'm going down hill. I know that. It will never happen again," he said
Blair County Judge Daniel J. Milliron said the state prison sentence for the now-81-year-old Becker was not a reaction to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case but "the purpose is for safety of the community and the young children."
"There is a likelihood of him repeating the conduct if he is released," Milliron said.
One of Becker's 10 children, Joseph Becker of Dysart, accompanied him to a probation-violation hearing.
The son called Becker a good man and said he would help his father avoid further trouble.
"I'm shocked. I'm surprised the judge would go over what the parole office recommended. ... I don't think he's a danger to the community," defense attorney Douglas Keating said.
The county probation office recommended a six-month jail term, but Milliron decided to impose a greater sentence that also included two years of probation after his release.
Keating said he believes Becker's health is suffering in the Blair County Prison.
"He has lost a lot of weight. He looks terrible," said Keating.
Keating said he is considering an appeal of the sentence to the state Superior Court.
One of the points the defense made was that Becker has completed a treatment program called Project Point of Light in Clearfield County that was founded by psychologist William Allenbaugh.
Becker committed his most recent offenses despite having gone through the Allenbaugh program, considered one of the best in the area, Milliron said.
According to court papers, Becker worked for Bethlehem Steel for more than three decades, retiring in 1983. He is the father of 11 children and was married for 54 years.
After his wife died, he became lonely, according to an assessment prepared by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board. The assessment determined Becker was not a sexually violent predator under Megan's Law.
When he was 78, he was arrested in both Blair and Lancaster counties for fondling a mentally challenged woman, the daughter of a friend. He was placed on probation in both counties.
Becker also was charged with harassing young girls and most recently was charged with violating his probation on five occasions in April and May when young women indicated he offered them money they felt were for sexual favors.
A Viagra pill was found in his pocket - a probation violation, authorities said.