3-judge panel trims sentence of man guilty in attempted rape

July 18, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A three-judge panel shaved 10 years yesterday off the 35-year sentence of a stableman convicted of the attempted rape of his employer's nanny, a Croatian teen-ager who had been in the United States less than a week.

In a three-page ruling, the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judges said they were reducing the sentence to give Robert Brown, 42, a chance to go through the Patuxent Institution sex offenders program, which his attorneys sought. The counseling program, which takes three to five years, would not consider him unless the sentence is no longer than 25 years, defense attorneys said.

Brown, a New Orleans native who has been held at Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, was convicted of a 1998 attempted sexual assault of an 18-year-old girl at a Gambrills horse farm, where he worked with the animals and she was hired to watch the family's young children.

The teen-ager had agreed to share a cottage with Brown instead of living in the main house, and he had promised his employer he would respect the young woman, according to testimony last December at the trial.

But after she turned down his advances, he beat her and bound her wrists to get her to stop struggling in what the panel called the "horrific nature of this offense."

Brown apologized to her immediately afterward, and she was so ashamed that she did not tell her parents, who live in Croatia. The family she was with called the Anne Arundel police to report the attack.

State sentencing guidelines called for 12 to 20 years in prison. But Judge Eugene M. Lerner sentenced Brown in February to life, then suspended all but 35 years, saying he believed Brown committed an unusually vicious attack on a girl "who came looking for a better life in this country."

Judges Michael E. Loney, Philip T. Caroom and Joseph P. Manck wrote that they wanted "to ensure, as much as humanly possible" that Brown would not pose a threat once released from prison. They said a sentence of life with all but 25 suspended "protects the public, punishes [Brown] but allows for rehabilitation."

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