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A Los Angeles judge has sentenced an influential Hollywood figure and longtime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to eight years in prison for child molestation.
Jeffery Cooper, 70, formerly an accomplished architect and acoustic engineer, entered the Van Nuys Courthouse in Van Nuys, California, handcuffed and wearing a blue and white prisoner’s uniform to learn his fate.
His family attending the hearing, and his brother read a statement to the court before Judge Alan Schneider handed down the sentence.
He must also register as a sex offender, according to authorities.
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A jury found Cooper guilty in May of three felony child abuse counts for molesting a girl in his home between 2005 and 2007. She was between 12 and 13 at the time, according to prosecutors. She is now an adult and testified during the trial.
He could have faced a maximum of 12 years behind bars.
Both victims approved of the eight-year sentence, according to their Los Angeles-based attorney, David Ring.
“Cooper was asking for probation,” he told Fox News Digital Tuesday. “They’re pleased that he got the eight years. There was a long, long road to get there.”
Ring is representing them in a separate civil lawsuit, filed Monday, which alleges Cooper used his influence and reputation to host the victims and their families at his sprawling Calabasas home.
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He allegedly isolated them in his cavernous basement, where he had a sound room stocked with musical instruments. He allegedly invited them to play music, then groomed and molested both of them.
The religious institution he founded, Calabasas Shul, allegedly helped cover it up by doing nothing when the girls reported Cooper’s behavior, according to the lawsuit. One victim alleged that he threatened to harm her family if she accused him of abusing her.
“Even though he received less than the 12-year statutory maximum, eight years tends to be the higher end of the range for child molestation under California law,” said Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and LA-based attorney who is not connected to the case. “The jury deadlocked for one victim, but the judge likely found his pattern of sexual abuse to be an aggravating factor, and Cooper testifying in his own defense probably didn’t help either. Judge’s don’t like defendants who perjure themselves on the stand.”
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Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon’s office was unable to convince jurors to reach a unanimous verdict on several other charges involving the second, even younger child, resulting in a mistrial on those charges.
“Children are the most vulnerable members of our community, [and] Mr. Cooper abused his position of trust and caused incredible harm to helpless victims,” Gascon said in a statement. “I know that nothing can undo the trauma that they have endured, but I hope the victims find peace and healing now that this criminal process is complete.”
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Cooper’s defense team declined to comment on the sentencing.
Cooper designed home studios for famed Hollywood directors including Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, according to the civil complaint.
The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.