Man sentenced to 30 years for sexual assault

July 18, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A Chicago engineer who was the first person charged with a sex crime in Maryland based almost exclusively on a "hit" in a national DNA computer database was sentenced to 30 years in prison yesterday.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North said she was disturbed not only by the violent 1989 attack on a Linthicum woman, but also by two profiles presented yesterday - one depicting Gary Pescrillo, 46, as an emotionally isolated sexual deviant given to blackouts, the other showing him as an engaged family and community man who apparently has gone years between assaults.

"It makes you a little bit scarier, in my point of view," North said.

Under terms of an April plea agreement, Pescrillo was to receive no more than 30 years in prison for a first-degree sex offense. The maximum possible sentence is life in prison.

North sentenced Pescrillo to 45 years, but suspended 15 years. She added five years of probation, the first two on house arrest.

Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen E. Rogers was pleased that Pescrillo got the maximum under the agreement, and said she was "happy he got more, the two years on home detention." The victim, who sat in court with her parents, did not want to comment.

Defense lawyer Joseph F. Devlin, however, wanted no more than 20 years' incarceration, and is expected to seek a change in sentence. With his plea agreement, Pescrillo didn't admit guilt but acknowledged that the state had sufficient evidence to convict him.

A defense request to have Pescrillo referred for an evaluation to Patuxent Institution, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services facility geared toward treatment, failed.

North rejected it because Patuxent has no sex offender program, but ordered therapy during probation.

Michael K. Spodak, a Towson psychiatrist hired by the defense, testified that Pescrillo would benefit from Patuxent programs. He described an angry man, depressed over three major problems in a year: his brother's June 1988 suicide, a missed promotion at work and the demise of his first marriage.

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