A man who raped a 60-year-old grandmother in a Mill Valley laundry room was sentenced Thursday to nearly two decades in prison.
Leroy Anthony Clark, 37, received 19 years and four months for a crime Judge James Chou called "horrific."
"It has scarred at least one member of our community, as well as her family," Chou said.
Deputy District Attorney Nicole Pantaleo read the judge a letter from the victim, who said she is so traumatized she feels anxiety at the mere sight of laundry machines, and that her husband still bolts awake at night screaming about the rape.
"My family and I will live in panic and fear for the rest of our lives," the letter said.
Clark showed little reaction during the hearing and did not make a statement.
Clark was arrested last June after an investigation by the Marin County Sheriff's Office. Authorities said the crime happened while the victim, a San Rafael resident, was visiting family at an apartment complex in Strawberry.
The woman told investigators the attacker forced her into a laundry room, claimed he had a gun and raped her.
Based on the description of the suspect, a sheriff's investigator thought he might be Clark, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound sex offender who was living in San Anselmo. The woman then identified Clark as the suspect after picking him from a series of photos.
Clark eventually pleaded guilty to charges of forcible rape, sexual battery, false imprisonment and threatening a victim. As part of the plea arrangement, the prosecution dismissed a residential burglary charge that could have meant a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
"This defendant really is the bogeyman hiding in the bushes that we all fear," Pantaleo said.
The case was Clark's third sex crimes prosecution in the past several years. In 2011, a jury acquitted him of raping and restraining an 18-year-old woman in San Rafael, but convicted him of misdemeanor sexual battery for touching her breasts.
In a secondary but related trial, a judge convicted Clark of failing to register as a sex offender at the time of the incident. Clark was required to register because of a 2009 misdemeanor sexual battery conviction in a case involving two teenage girls. ------ (c)2014 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) Visit The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) at www.marinij.com