North Bay senior citizen sentenced 30 years to life for molesting child

A 78-year-old man was sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison on Tuesday for molesting a child numerous times, Sonoma County prosecutors said.   

Petaluma resident Brian Douglas Schmitt Sr. was found guilty of four felony sex offenses committed against a child following a jury trial in January, the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.   

Based on evidence and testimony presented at the trial, Schmitt was a trusted member of the victim's family and would regularly spend time with the victim until the abuse was disclosed in July 2022.   

Following the victim's disclosure of abuse and the Petaluma Police Department's subsequent investigation, Schmitt was charged with offenses related to sexual penetration of a child who was 10 years of age or younger, as well as with committing lewd acts with a child under the age of 14.   

Prosecutors said Schmitt pleaded for leniency and offered an apology to the victim's family, blaming his crimes on marijuana use. But the judge recalled the trial and even determined that he was a "danger to the community [and] a danger to the children," before sentencing him.   

"This defendant put the victim, and victim's entire family, through a devastating experience. We hope this jury's verdict, and the court's sentence, give them some sense of solace," District Attorney Carla Rodriguez said in a statement.