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CLEVELAND, Ohio — A 36-year-old Cleveland man was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for putting his frail, then-7-year-old daughter in a clothes dryer and turning it on.


Steve McClairn pleaded guilty in last week to endangering children, abduction and domestic violence.

He told Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg at his sentencing that didn’t put the girl into the dryer Dec. 19 as a punishment. He did it to teach her not to get into the machine.

Synenberg called his conduct outrageous and reasoning absurd.

“This court is supposed to believe that there is any good reason in the world for putting a child in a clothes dryer?” she asked McClairn. “Are you kidding me?

“If you want to teach someone that guns are dangerous, do you shoot them?”

Synenberg said she gave McClairn the long sentence in light of his extensive criminal record, which includes crimes of violence, burglary, theft, attempted kidnapping and drug trafficking going back to 1991.

“Prisons are made for people like you, so you don’t ever hurt anyone close to you again,” she said. “You were not drunk or high when you did this. Now, she will be frightened of you for the rest of her life.”

Assistant County Prosecutor Michael Graham noted that the girl is now 8 but has a cyst on her brain that stunted her growth. She looks like a 3 year old, he said, noting that her condition makes the act of putting her in a dryer even more dangerous.

The girl’s mother, Clarice Hicks, asked the judge for leniency.

Hicks said McClairn was a good provider who never hit the children. She said her children miss him and want him back.

“He didn’t do it to punish her,” she said outside the courtroom. “I think he was drinking at the time.”

A police detective who interviewed the child after the incident said the victim was asked to describe her father.

“He’s evil,” the girl told investigators.