Serial rapist sentenced to 55 years for attack on Rockport woman

Posted June 20, 2011, at 4:14 p.m.
Last modified June 21, 2011, at 5:30 a.m.
Bradley William Lemay
Photo from Maine Sex Offender Registry
Bradley William Lemay

ROCKLAND, Maine — Convicted serial rapist Bradley Lemay, 45, was sentenced Monday afternoon to serve 55 years for raping a Rockport woman at knife point last year.

A Knox County Superior Court jury found on June 10 that the Augusta man was guilty of five charges related to the June 8, 2010, attack on the woman in her home, including gross sexual assault, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, eluding police and tampering with a victim.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm noted during the sentencing hearing that it was the third rape conviction for Lemay, who has spent more than two decades in prison for kidnapping and sex crimes that began when he was a juvenile.

He was released from Maine State Prison for four months before the Rockport assault.

Hjelm said Monday that Lemay’s long sentence for his latest rape, which the judge described as a “horrific four-hour ordeal,” is not an accident.

“Mr. Lemay has proven himself to be a very dangerous individual who is not hesitant about engaging in acts of violence,” Hjelm said. “Mr. Lemay is a person who is not capable of living in an open and peaceful society.”

Lemay, who wore an orange prison uniform, declined to address the court, as did his victim, who also was present. She had testified during the trial.

No one in the sparsely occupied courtroom appeared to be there to support Lemay.

He originally had been accused of breaking into the Rockport home of the victim, a woman he had met through his landscaping job, and then raping her at knife point for four hours, although the jury found him not guilty of burglary, aggravated assault and aggravated criminal trespass.

The police affidavit that was filed last year in support of Lemay’s arrest originally identified the woman as living in Camden, but a court official said Monday that the woman is from Rockport.

When Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald addressed the court on Monday, he asked that Lemay be sentenced to a total of 76 years in prison for his crimes.

Fernald read from a letter that the victim had written to describe the impact the attack has had on her life.

“I have lost the sense of calmness and safety that I had always experienced in my home and in the community,” she wrote. “In a way, much of my world has collapsed and I have not been moving forward.”

Fernald said the trial served to re-traumatize the victim, who repeatedly was characterized by the defense attorney “as a liar.”

He also described Lemay’s criminal history, which began in 1983, when Lemay was convicted of rape and burglary as a juvenile. Lemay then was convicted of kidnapping and gross sexual conduct in 1989, for which he served 21 years of a 35-year sentence.

Defense attorney Christopher MacLean said Monday that Lemay continues to claim that the sexual encounter with the Rockport woman was consensual and added that the 76-year sentence requested by the state is not fair or balanced.

“Most criminal defendants charged with murder are sentenced to less than 76 years,” he said. “With respect to the gross sexual assault conviction, one could imagine more serious ways for that crime to be committed.”

According to MacLean, the mitigating circumstances for a lesser sentence include the fact that Lemay was able to find gainful employment after being released from prison, that he enjoys the support of family and friends, that he does not abuse substances and that he has had an “unfortunately sad life.”

The defense attorney requested that his client receive a sentence of 15 to 20 years for the sexual assault conviction.

Hjelm, when it was his turn to speak, said that he very much appreciated MacLean’s efforts on behalf of his client, which represented “the best of the Maine bar,” but that he found no persuasive mitigating factors.

Hjelm said Lemay found the rape victim through his gainful employment. He attempted to use his family support in criminal ways when he sent a letter to his brother from jail asking him to visit the victim and persuade her to drop the charges. Lemay authorized the brother to offer the victim as much as $150,000 if she would do so. He also urged his brother to tell the woman that people were watching her and that she would be hurt if she did anything stupid.

“‘Tell her she’s being watched at all times and make the threat sound real,’” Hjelm said, quoting from that letter.

“Mr. Lemay’s adult life may be unfortunate and sad because he has chosen to break the law,” the judge said.

In addition to the 55 years, Lemay was sentenced to 10 years for tampering with a victim, one year for attempted escape from Knox County Jail, five years for eluding police and five years for criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. He will serve the sentences concurrently.

Before starting this sentence, Lemay also must finish serving a five-year sentence for violating probation.

Hjelm said Lemay will be “very old” by the time he’s eligible for release.

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