DECATUR — Todd A. Brown of Decatur was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for predatory criminal sexual assault, the sentence imposed after a judge heard the pained words of the victim.

Read out loud in Macon County Circuit Court by a family member, the victim impact statement of the child, who was younger than 12, was written in big pencil letters and had a message for Judge Thomas Griffith: “I want you to keep everybody safe from him.”

The child also said: “When he gets out (of prison) I want him to be nice … if he hurts anybody else, put him back in jail.”

Brown, 48, earlier pleaded guilty to the Class X felony in a deal that involved dropping one count of predatory criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Police learned of the incidents after a medical exam in May 2017 revealed injuries consistent with sexual abuse, according to a sworn police affidavit.

The child’s mother also made a victim impact statement and talked of her despair at not being able to protect her daughter.

“She told me she wishes she could stop thinking about the things that happened and just go to sleep like a normal kid,” said the mother, her voice breaking.

After the hearing, the mother said the plea deal had given the judge the option of imposing an 18-year sentence and she wished he had done so. “But no sentence is long enough," she added.

In a rambling statement, Brown told the court he wanted to “apologize to everybody” but said anybody who knows him would be quick to say the conviction against him didn’t ring true.

“I took the plea because I wanted to be able to be free at one point in my life, so I can maybe try to rebuild it again,” he said.

In handing down the sentence, Griffith said he had heard enough to conclude Brown had committed “absolutely despicable acts” and, if the court was minded to act out of vengeance, a 40-year sentence would be justified.

“Mr. Brown, a child is going to be forever harmed, physically, mentally and emotionally, regardless of what I do up here today,” Griffith said.

In addition to the prison sentence, which must be served at 85 percent, Brown was ordered to register as a sexual predator for life.