Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Caregiver" convicted of raping developmentally disabled woman in Washington home

(Original Post 7-18-09)

Joseph Thurura, a Kenyan immigrant, was convicted of 2nd degree rape in a sexual assault on a 45 year old developmentally disabled woman who had been previously victimized. Thurura was found guilty in a bench trial Thursday, July 16 after the victim miscarried the baby Thurura had with her.

DNA samples were taken from 11 men who had access to the victim at the Kent, WA assisted living facility where Thurura was supposed to care for the victim. The victim is blind and mute, and is legally incapable of consent. King County Superior Court Judge Richard McDermott presided over the trial, and will sentence him to between 6 1/2 and 8 1/2 years in prison at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent August 14.

(Update 8-15-09)

Thurura was sentenced to 8 1/2 years to life yesterday. The victim's mother spoke out on behalf of her daughter, who has the developmental capacitiy of an 11 month old girl.

"[She] was tortured and raped repeatedly over a long period of time in her own home -- in her own bed. I believe that Mr. Thurura should be removed from society so that other human beings can be safe from him."

King County Superior Court Judge Richard McDermott said that "If I could send you, Mr. Thurura, to twice the amount of time, or three times the amount of time, I would do so in a heartbeat...It is difficult for me, as a judge sitting here, to conceive of a more heinous offense. You took advantage of and violated one of the most vulnerable members of our society."

After the 8 1/2 years are up, the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board will review the sentence, ultimately deciding how much more time he has to serve. If Thurura is released, he'll have to register as a sex offender. In Washington, rape resulting in pregnancy only results in aggravation when the victim is a child, not when the victim is an adult, even in severely disabled. In other states, pregnancy is an aggravating factor in rape sentencing.

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