Teens sentenced in bowling alley sodomy
(Riverhead, Long Island - WABC, October 23, 2007) (WABC) -- It's sentencing day on Long Island for two teenagers who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled hanydman.
Ninteen-year-old Steven Rodriguez has admitted to attacking the 22-year old man with a plumbing snake in a bathroom at bowling alley in Shirley last October.His accomplice, 17-year-old Michael Lunsford, has admitted to holding the victim down during the attack. The two teens rotated the plumbing snake while assaulting the victim, who was found on the floor, bleeding with severe internal injuries. He had to undergo surgery to remove the plumbing tool. State Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle sentenced Rodriguez to a determinate prison sentence of 20 years, with five years of post-release supervision. Rodriguez was also certified a sex offender. Lunsford will serve a 16-year prison term with five years of post-release supervision. Lunsford pleaded guilty to first-degree assault. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to attempted predatory sexual assault and aggravated sexual abuse.
The victim's mother spoke on behalf of her family.
"When we were asked to speak at this hearing we said sure, but when we started to think about what we should say we were lost," she said. "We wanted to stay positive and in the present, but there are some things you two young men must hear.
"This crime was one of hate, hate for people who are different. We feel sorry for anyone who doesn't get the chance to know a special person like our son because your life would be richer for it. My son helps the church, neighbors and anyone who looks like they need a helping hand. He is kind and generous and would give you the shirt off his back if you asked. When I went to see him at the hospital and he was obviously in shock, all he was worried about was losing his job. This is how he thinks. You have not only affected your lives and his, you have affected so many others. I have to say the only thing I can think of that is worse than what you did to my son is how your parents must have felt when they found out the truth that their child had done something so horrible to another human being. Our hearts go out to them as they deal with the aftermath of your actions.
"As for my own family, we almost lost our home and are still struggling since I lost two months of work and my husband two weeks as he dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by your attack. We also have two other children who had to deal without their parents while we dealt with the effects of your actions.
"We would like to thank our family and friends for letting us lean on them. Our community was overwhelmingly supportive and we wish we could thank everyone personally. We never knew how many people knew our son and truly cared for him.
"And last but not least, we need to thank all the members of the D.A.'s Office especially Kate Wagner and her secretaries Susan and Carolann who were awesome and always there when we had a question. Also Sgt. Best, Lt. Giganti and Detectives Balistreri, Bottari and Gualtieeri who were so professional and did their best to speak to my son simply so he understood and treated him with the utmost respect at a very difficult time in his life. And so many others from the Suffolk County Police Department, thank you.
"In closing, we all have our faults, but we all live in the same world and must try to get along no matter what our IQ, how we look or what our race. From the words of a very special friend of ours, "look for the ability not the disability."
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