MARTINEZ -- A minister was sentenced to nine years in state prison Friday for the rape of a 56-year-old Richmond woman in his house in 2011.

More than a dozen family members of Derrick Dwayne Brooks filled the courtroom to ask for mercy for the 60-year-old San Pablo resident, whom they described as a leader in his family and at the Lighthouse Full Gospel Church Pentecostal in San Francisco.

On the other side of the gallery were advocates from Rape Crisis Center and Community Violence Solutions in support of a victim who, according to the prosecutor, had to endure being called a liar since the attack on Oct. 29, 2011.

"The tenor of this whole case has been blame the victim. It's not her fault, it's Mr. Brooks' fault," said deputy District Attorney Alison Chandler. "Her courage brought us to this point, her willingness to recognize a wrong that happened to her, her willingness to stand her ground."

A Contra Costa County jury in May convicted Brooks of assault with intent to commit rape and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, a charge enhancement for the victim's injuries and a special allegation that Brooks used force and violence in the commission of the attack.

He had met the Richmond woman and her friend at a Halloween party, and took them back to his house under the guise of going to another party, Chandler said. Her friend left, but the victim, thinking that she had a new friend in Brooks, agreed to stay so they could go out to breakfast.


Advertisement

Then he ripped off her clothes and sexually assaulted her before and after he punched her unconscious, Chandler said. The victim was born without vision in one eye, and Brooks' punch had swollen her good eye shut.

A pastor from the San Francisco church said Friday the accusations were out of character for the man who had painted the inside church free of charge. Family member after family member stood up to sing his praises and ask for leniency. Even a county probation officer recommended probation over jail time, much to the chagrin of Chandler, who called the officer's report biased against the victim.

But it was clear from early in the hearing that Judge Susanne Fenstermacher thought probation was inappropriate. Brooks may not be a monster, she said, but he committed a monstrous act.

"I was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Brooks was guilty," Fenstermacher said.

The victim told the court that she was out of work for four months after the assault and under a doctor's care for six. She now has a scar from where he busted open her face, and she's been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

She struggles to trust other people, including herself, embarrassed that she was willing to trust Brooks that night. Her pain is shared by her daughter, who also has been changed forever by Brooks' actions.

"We as a family will pay for this for the rest of our lives," she wrote in a victim impact letter.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.