FARGO — A judge says he will never forget how a 49-year-old Fargo man sexually abused two young girls.

Cass County District Judge Tom Olson sentenced Todd Douglas Meyer to 40 years in prison on Tuesday, Nov. 12, saying the case "haunts me" and “disgusts me to no end.”

The two girls reported to authorities that Meyer raped them multiple times from January 2013 to February 2019, causing them pain in the process.

“I hope you never forget what you did to those kids,” the judge told Meyer. “I know I never will.”

Meyer, who said little during the sentencing hearing, expressed his sorrow to the victims for any pain he caused.

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Prosecutor Tracy Hines said the girls have a long road of treatment ahead and their lives have been changed forever.

“These girls for a period of time were living in an absolute hell at the hands of the defendant,” Hines said. “Both girls deserve justice.”

In July, Meyer pleaded guilty to two Class AA felony counts of gross sexual imposition and two Class C felony counts of child neglect. Each gross sexual imposition charge carried a maximum of life in prison without parole, and each child neglect charge had a maximum of five years in prison.

The judge followed the prosecution's recommendation to sentence Meyer to serve 20 years in prison for each gross sexual imposition charge consecutively, and the five years for each child neglect charge will be served at the same time as the gross sexual imposition sentences. Meyer must serve 20 years of supervised probation once released from prison.

Defense attorney Stormy Vickers argued for the two gross sexual imposition sentences to be served concurrently, noting Meyer has a limited criminal history and has never been in jail before this case. Meyer, who served in the Navy, has numerous physical and mental health problems, Vickers said.

The defense argued Meyer was unlikely to commit another crime and has been an ideal inmate while in custody for this case. “I think it is difficult for people to understand the court has to consider that there are two sides of this,” Vickers said.

The court should look at the actions in this case, despite the lack of criminal history, Hines said.

“It is just so heinous what happened here,” she said, adding that the court can protect the victims and other children by sending Meyer to prison for a long time.

Olson read details of the case and segments from the children’s victim impact statements. One child said she doesn't want to have children because of the sexual assaults but instead will adopt and be a single mother. The other child said life has been better since Meyer was sent to jail.

One of the girls wrote, "I leave it in the past." To which Olson remarked: "I hope to God that she can."