The 45-year-old rape victim walked to the witness box Thursday leaning on her cane. In a halting, slurred voice, she told the court that she was irreparably damaged by what a Plummer man did to her last June.
She said she has had a stroke since the rape and now wets her bed and wakes up crying. Despite the brutality of the event, she said she has forgiven her attacker but asked the judge for a life sentence to ensure he would not harm other women.
Her wish was granted when 67-year-old Gary Allen Srery was sentenced to life in prison for rape. Under the sentenced imposed by Kootenai County First District Judge Charles Hosack, Srery will be eligible for parole in eight years.
Srery, who is registered as a violent sexual offender in Benewah County, has a criminal history dating back to the 1960s that includes convictions for rape, kidnap and assault with intent to commit rapes, police said. He has served time in jails in California and Canada.
“Mr. Srery, you’ve damaged my life,” the victim said in court Thursday, after saying his name several times, demanding that he look at her. “You have made me have a stroke, because of the stress and the damage that you did to me in that bathroom. Do you understand me? A stroke, that caused irreversible damage to my complete left side.
“I have grandchildren, I have children, I have a family that loves me very much that has had to watch me go through living hell, and it is not fair. You damaged me … and I can’t be repaired. There has got to be a lifetime sentence for you, just as I’m having to pay a lifetime sentence for no wrongdoing.”
Hosack noted Srery’s tendency to target victims who are especially vulnerable, as this woman was on crutches when he met her at a Coeur d’Alene bar last June. Srery drove the woman home, where he attacked her for several hours. The next morning, the woman’s boyfriend arrived at the home and heard her crying for help. He confronted the rapist, who ran out the door.
The victim said when she heard the sentence, her first thought was, “Thank God. I felt like I had done my job,” she said in an interview outside the courtroom. “I was going to see him convicted … to save other women.”