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Sirens & Gavels

Man sentenced for Riverfront Park rape

By Thomas Clouse

A brain-damaged, homeless man could serve either four more months or up to five years in prison based on a sentence Friday for a rape that occurred in broad daylight on a Saturday in Riverfront Park.

Terry L. Thomas, 54, earlier entered a guilty plea to third-degree rape in connection to the incident that occurred May 23. He was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison and given credit for 11 months already served.

Bystanders originally told Riverfront Park security staff they saw two people 60-year-olds were having sex in some bushes close to the playground near the former old YMCA building.

But The 27-year-old woman and Thomas turned out to be 27, the man brain-damaged and both had been drinking whiskey, according to court testimony.

Witnesses told police they saw the woman push Thomas away and try to collect herself, but Thomas continued to pull her off her clothes.

“We believe … this started as a consensual act,” defense attorney Al Rossi told Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno. “They met on the bus. They both had been drinking. They both were going to the park. Mr. Thomas doesn’t remember a lot after he got off the bus.”

“Mr. Thomas, unfortunately, was not in a situation where he understood ‘no’ … as a result of his level of intoxication.”

Rossi said explained that Thomas, who has does have a previous sex crime conviction in Oregon, fell in 1993 and severely damaged his brain. Since then, he He since has had trouble finding his words, has been homeless and sometimes has trouble controlling his impulses, Rossi said.

“After his brain injury, Mr. Thomas’ life went to hell,” Rossi said. But “after the injury … he has pretty much abandoned his criminal career.”

Deputy Prosecutor John Love said the sentence could be as much as five years in prison because after Thomas serves the additional initial four months, the case will then go before the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board, which could impose the higher sentence.

Thomas told Moreno that he remembered meeting the woman and sharing two pints of whiskey.

“I do not remember any of this after we got off the bus,” Thomas said.

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