Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Stepfather to serve 35 years for rape
A Ruther Glen man will spend 35 years in prison for raping his stepdaughter over a period of five years, starting when she was 13.
The 37-year-old man, who is not being identified to protect the victim, was sentenced Thursday morning to 110 years with all but 35 years suspended.
He was convicted in February of five counts of rape and five counts of aggravated sexual battery in Caroline Circuit Court.
Those charges are the result of an investigation after the victim, now 19, called 911 on July 15, 2010, to say that she had been raped.
The man, 37, who had worked in corrections at a regional facility when he was arrested, had also served in the Marine Corps.
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Joseph J. Ellis recognized his service to the nation and his community, “but in your soul there is a dark harbor in which a monster resides.”
“For anyone standing as a stepparent that did what you did, something so reprehensible, must be severely punished,” Ellis said sternly. “This is the lower end of the guidelines and that’s out of respect for that part of your life that doesn’t reside in that dark hole. There’s nothing more egregious than harming a child and you will never do that again.”
The victim testified during the trial that her stepfather married her mother when she was 4 years old and that she called him “daddy.” But after she turned 12 and started to develop physically, she said, their relationship changed in a way that made her uncomfortable.
She testified that one night in August 2005, after she returned to Ruther Glen from visiting family in California, her stepfather came into her room and shoved her to the ground onto a blue blanket.
“He forced me to have sex with him,” she said in court in February. “I was crying and telling him to stop and struggling. He said he would hurt me if I told anyone.”
The stepfather testified during the trial that he did have consensual sex with his stepdaughter, but it was after she turned 18.He said that’s when she started flirting with him, and a few months later they started having consensual sex.
The defendant said the two loved each other, but she didn’t want her mother–his wife–to know about their relationship.
Evidence presented during trial included DNA from the man and the victim recovered from a blue blanket and the testimony of an urgent-care center employee who said the stepfather brought the woman to the center to get a pregnancy test done when she was 15.
The man gave an emotional apology today to the courts and to his family for the “stress and hurt that everybody has gone through.
“He said he misses his wife and their other two children.
The victim and her family, who now live in California, viewed the sentencing via Skype,a video conference call. They had traveled to Bowling Green last week when the hearing was originally scheduled, but continued.
“It’s a long time, but its not enough for what he did to her,” the victim’s mother said by phone about her husband’s sentence. “She will still suffer. He destroyed families. He threw away the love of his children for craziness. But it’s done and all we have to do now is recover.”
About 10 family members and supporters of the man were in the courtroomThursday.
“I won’t be here when he gets out,” his mother sobbed uncontrollably in the courtroom.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer offered a last minute plea agreement in a separate case that involved the man escaping from police custody while he was being arrested at his workplace on the rape charges.
The man agreed to plead guilty to escape and was sentenced to one year in prison with all of it suspended.
“If [the stepfather] lives long enough he will be a free man again someday, but his victim will carry the scars of his attacks for the rest of her life,” Spencer said. “Thirty-five years in prison is a leniant sentence for what he did.”