A former Bluffton chiropractor has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexually abusing a girl from the time she was 14 years old in encounters in Bluffton and St. Johns County, Fla.
Raymond Anthony Delgado, 57, was declared a sexual predator last Friday in St. John's County, Fla., by Circuit Court Judge Wendy Berger. Delgado's sentence will be followed by 15 years of probation, according to Berger's ruling.
Delgado pleaded no contest in January to two of 10 child-sex charges, both felonies, filed against him in St. Johns County.
He faces similar charges in Bluffton, but it is unclear when he will answer for them. Fourteenth Judicial Circuit solicitor Duffie Stone said his office has started the process for bringing Delgado to South Carolina to try him for the sexual encounters with the same girl that occurred here.
Delgado met the girl and her family on a cruise in April 2007 and established a close friendship with her father, who later asked him to be the girl's godfather, according to arrest records. The victim referred to him as "Uncle Ray," the records said.
The victim's parents allowed her to stay with Delgado and his live-in girlfriend at his former Hampton Hall home in the summer of 2007, so she could work at his practice, the Carolina Chiropractic & Holistic Center at the Plaza at Belfair.
The sexual abuse began at his home and his office that summer and continued when Delgado visited the girl and her family in St. Augustine, sometimes entering her bedroom when she was sleeping, the arrest records said. The ulterior motive of the visits "was to continue sexually abusing and molesting the child," according to a news release from Florida's Seventh Judicial Circuit Court.
The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office began investigating Delgado in August 2010 after the girl reported him to deputies there. Lt. Joe Babkiewicz of the Bluffton Police Department said Florida investigators alerted him to the alleged abuse, triggering an investigation and interviews in St. Augustine with the victim and with employees at Delgado's Bluffton practice.
Bluffton police charged Delgado with seven counts of criminal sexual misconduct in September after he had already been jailed in St. Johns County. Delgado, who was living in the Westbury Park neighborhood in Bluffton at the time, was arrested in Florida on Sept. 3 at a place he and the girl had agreed to meet, the St. Johns Sheriff's Office has said.
Delgado has been credited with almost two years' prison time served, according to the release from Florida's Seventh Judicial Circuit Court.