BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A former member of a Colorado Shambhala Buddhist center who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a child has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Michael Smith, 55, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and attempted sexual assault on a child in March, The Daily Camera reported Tuesday.
Boulder District Judge Bruce Langer also issued a three-year prison sentence for attempted sex assault, which will run concurrent with Smith's 20-year sentence.
Prosecutors asked for 25 years in prison, while Smith and defense attorney Steve Louth requested a sentence of 15 years. Langer handed down the 20-year prison sentence followed by five years of mandatory parole.
Prosecutors accused Smith of sexually abusing a girl multiple times beginning in 1997.
The girl's family in Boulder was involved in the Shambhala Buddhist community, which practices specific teachings within the Buddhist religion. Her parents took her to an annual Shambhala retreat in Vermont, where she met Smith when she was 9 or 10 years old, records said.
Police said the girl’s family rented rooms in their home to other Shambhala members. Smith lived at the house for two to three years, which was when prosecutors said Smith sexually abused her numerous times.