Sacramento Superior Court Judge Emily E. Vasquez told Vicars that based on the 24 letters of support she received on his behalf, it was her determination that he was "a good man and instructor who lost his judgment in the most horrible way."
Hired to protect the students and keep them safe, "Instead, I find that you took advantage of a position of trust and confidence to commit these sexual offenses," Vasquez said from the bench.
Vicars, 29, was convicted Feb. 8 in a retrial. In his first trial last year, jurors failed to reach a verdict in the case that then involved six alleged victims.
Prosecutors said the offenses took place in 2008 and 2009 while Vicars was an instructor in the Sierra Oaks Discovery Club after-school program. All of the boys were between the ages of 7 and 11 at the time of the alleged offenses.
Deputy District Attorney Shauna Franklin read letters in court today from two parents of the victims. One said he was "disgusted by Vicars' refusal to accept responsibility for what he has done." The father added, "Never in my wildest dreams did I envision that our children were at risk at Sierra Oaks."
A total of 40 friends and relatives of Vicars showed up in court today wearing shirt tags that said, "I support Shane." None of them agreed to be interviewed. They have maintained Vicars' innocence throughout the proceedings.
Defense attorney Shannon Baker asked Vasquez to sentence Vicars to probation, plus a year in county jail.
Vicars faced a maximum term of 32 years. Judge Vasquez said she sentenced him to 26 years based on his having led a productive life prior to his Jan. 6, 2010, arrest and his lack of a prior criminal history.