BANGOR, Maine — A rape victim told her attacker at his sentencing Tuesday that she hoped he experienced “the horror you inflicted on me every day you are imprisoned.”
Derwin “Tiger” Springer Jr., 39, of Passadumkeag, was sentenced at the Penobscot Judicial Center to 20 years in prison with five years suspended for breaking into his then-60-year-old neighbor’s home and raping her in the middle of the night on Oct. 29, 2008.
“Why you picked me over all the women who live alone in Passadumkeag, I can’t imagine,” she told Springer. “How you could commit such a horrible act against me, I can’t understand. You practically grew up in my home.”
Springer was a friend of the victim’s sons.
“It was two weeks before I even told the detectives that, for some reason, I believed it was you who had brutally attacked me,” she said. “It was just so hard to believe that a man who once had been my son’s best friend and whom I had never done anything to could be so cruel.”
The victim was asleep in her bedroom in the early morning hours of Oct. 29, 2008, Deputy District Attorney Michael Roberts has said. She was awakened when a man placed a gloved hand on her nose and mouth. She told investigators that she struggled with the man but was unable to breathe and lost consciousness.
When the woman came to, Roberts has said, she had a pillowcase on her head, she was naked from the waist down, and the man was attempting to rape her. She told him to stop at least three times, but the man did not speak to her.
After the sexual assault, the prosecutor said, the victim said she heard the basement door that leads to the outside close. She removed the pillowcase from her head, then tried to call police but her phone did not work. The victim then drove to her son’s home and called police.
The woman was taken by ambulance to Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln and transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where evidence was obtained using a rape protocol kit, according to Roberts.
When investigators went to the woman’s home after interviewing her at EMMC, they found pry marks on exterior doors, including one in the basement, Roberts said. They also recovered a pillowcase with duct tape on it.
Springer was one of many residents of the community interviewed by police, according to Roberts. He was one of several men who volunteered DNA samples.
Two months ago, Springer pleaded no contest to gross sexual assault and burglary, which resulted in his conviction. Defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein said then that Springer entered the no contest pleas because he had “no recollection” of the events on Oct. 29, 2008, when the break-in and sexual assault took place.
Springer faced his victim Tuesday and tearfully apologized to her.
“I feel horrible and disgusted about what happened,” he said. “I had no intention of hurting you or your family. I think of you as my family. I think of your boys as my brothers. I hope you forgive me.”
He speculated that his substance abuse problems led to the break-in and attack.
Springer’s parents, daughter and other family members sat behind him in the courtroom. Several of them wept as Springer and the victim spoke.
Superior Court Justice John Nivison sentenced Springer to four years of probation in addition to the prison term. Conditions of his probation include no use of intoxicants, substance abuse and sex offender treatment, no contact with the victim and not being in Passadumkeag except to visit his parents. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Springer has been held at the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor since his arrest on Dec. 19. That time will be applied to his sentence. With good time, he could be released in about 11 years, according to Silverstein.
The defendant faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on the Class A gross sexual assault charge and up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 on the Class B burglary charge.
Nivison sentenced Springer to 20 years with all but 15 suspended on the sexual assault charge and sentenced him to 10 years on the burglary charge. The sentences are to run concurrently.