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The teen-ager who set 12-year-old David Opont afire was sentenced Friday to the maximum three years confinement by a judge who said the child was a threat to others.

Judge Joseph A. Esquirol Sr. of Brooklyn Family Court said the case was "perhaps one of the most horrendous events I've had to preside over in a long judicial career."

Before the sentencing, a Family Court psychiatrist, Dr. Walter Flegenheimer, said the 14-year-old "receives gratification from acts of violence, from acts of rendering people helpless." The personality traits, if exhibited by an adult, would be classified as "a sadistic personality disorder," Flegenheimer told the judge. The defendant was not in the courtroom for the doctor's testimony.

The teen, whose name was withheld because of his age, was convicted in October under juvenile law of attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, robbery and attempted robbery following a non-jury trial by Esquirol.

David was abducted and burned last March on the day before his birthday as he and some friends were walking to school in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

David suffered severe burns over much of his body. Doctors say he is making a good recovery, although his skin is permanently disfigured.

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