Carbon County Senior Judge Richard W. Webb on Thursday sentenced a Palmerton man to three to six years in state prison, followed by four years of state probation for repeatedly sexually assaulting two little girls.

Ricky Joe Causey, 46, was given credit for the 284 days he has already served in jail. Causey, who has been in jail under $500,000 bail since his arrest in November, will also be categorized as a sexually violent predator under Megan's Law, meaning he must keep authorities notified of his home and work addresses for the rest of his life. As a condition of probation, he is not allowed unsupervised contact with children under age 18 and must have no contact at all with his victims or their family.

"I deal with it every day. I'm sorry," Causey told Webb.

Assistant District Attorney Joseph Matika prosecuted the cases; Attorney Paul Levy represented Causey.

One of the girls was about 8 years old when she was assaulted; the other endured numerous assaults from the age of 6 through the age of 13.

Family members of the victims were in court at the sentencing hearing, but declined to testify.

Causey in May pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault and indecent assault of a child. In exchange for the plea, 24 additional counts were dropped by the district attorney's office.

The plea negotiation spared the children from having to testify in court.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Palmerton police Officer Christopher Ritter, the girls' mother and grandmother came to the police station on Dec. 6 to report the assaults.

The indecent assault charge stemmed from an encounter with the younger child, who had been taken to a hospital on Nov. 26 after complaining of abdominal pain. A rash was discovered, and she complained of "being itchy," according to the affidavit. Her mother had also noticed recent changes in her demeanor, stating that the child became "nervous and withdrawn" while near Causey. The child had made statements to her family that suggested Causey had touched her in a sexual manner.

The child described the assault to a forensic interviewer at the Children's Advocacy Center in Scranton.

The aggravated assault charge was filed after the older child, now 13, described numerous sexual assaults on her by Causey, beginning when she was 6 years old. The most recent assault occurred in late November, two weeks before the mother sought police help.