Source: Wikimedia Commons

Sundance Film Festival co-founder Sterling Van Wagenen has been sentenced to six years to life in prison for child sex abuse.

Van Wagenen, who co-founded the festival that became known as Sundance Film Festival and who served as Sundance Institute’s first executive director, pleaded guilty earlier in the year to two counts of molesting a young girl in 2013 and 2015 in Utah when she was aged between seven and nine.

Delivering the sentence on Tuesday (2), Judge Robert Griffin recommended 72-year-old Van Wagenen serve more than the minimum term.

Prior to sentencing Van Wagenen, who has had no ties to Sundance for several decades, spoke to the court but did not apologise to the victim. “It’s clear that any kind of apology I can make is meaningless at this point,” he said. ”So I am not even going to attempt one. I want you all to know I feel the consequences of what I’ve done. I feel them deeply.”

Van Wagenen quit a teaching post at the University of Utah earlier this year after a man accused him of molestating him when he was a boy in the early 1990s.

As a filmmaker, Van Wagenen produced The Trip To Bountiful, which earned an Oscar for Geraldine Page.