Crookston man convicted in Winger rape gets more than 25 years
CROOKSTON -- The random victim of a violent rape spoke to Judge Donald Aandal on Monday in a soft monotone, as though she was in a trance.
"I am scared of being alone and by myself. I am scared of going to bed and not waking up in the morning," she said, reading from a letter she'd written to the judge. "I cry myself to sleep every night."
The 24-year-old woman told investigators a man she didn't know followed her as she walked from the End of the Line Saloon in Winger, Minn., grabbed her on the porch of her cousin's home and took her to a nearby wooded area where he raped and beat her.
"I can't believe that I'm alive and still kicking," she said.
Since the assault in the early hours of Oct. 12, 2008, she's lived in fear and can't trust anyone, even her family.
"It is like everybody is out to get me and hurt me," she said. "I feel so disgusted and ugly."
When men try to talk to her these days, she wants nothing to do with them.
"I think I am better off alone forever," she said. "I just want to curl up into a corner and be forgotten about forever."
After a weeklong trial in October, a jury convicted Patrick Bryan Scott Jr., 22, of kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was originally tried for the attack in June, but that trial ended in a hung jury. He's been in custody since Oct. 28, 2008.
Monday, the judge sentenced Scott to 25 years and five months and required him to register as a predatory offender for the rest of his life. It was the stiff sentence Polk County Assistant Attorney Scott Buhler had requested.
Buhler, who's been a prosecutor for more than 16 years, told the judge this was one of the most brutal sexual assault cases he's handled.
Scott, who is 6-foot-3 and weighed about 300 pounds, was accused of punching the victim in the head and threatening to kill her. When a car drove by, he let her go and she escaped to her cousin's home and called 911, according to a criminal complaint.
"The evidence was overwhelming. The photographs spoke volumes," Buhler said. "What he did was heinous, despicable -- it's almost unspeakable."
Scott, of Crookston, told investigators he was drunk and had consensual sex with the victim that night. But Buhler said the victim received, among other injuries, a black eye and that a rock poked her back during the assault.
"Who has consensual sex on a rock?" Buhler wondered.
Buhler said small towns like Winger, which has a population of about 200, are thought to be safe, but they aren't when "animals" like Scott exist. That's when Scott shot back with a string of insults.
"You got something to say, you wait till I'm finished," Buhler told Scott.
Scott's court-appointed attorney, Eric Gudmundson, told the judge he thought Buhler's "animal" comment was too much, and asked the judge not to hold Scott's outburst against him. Gudmundson also requested that the judge consider Scott's age and limited criminal history in sentencing.
Scott told the judge he plans to appeal the convictions.
"I got grounds to appeal it. You do what you have to do," he told the judge.
As Aandal addressed the courtroom, he paused briefly, seemingly to compose himself as he delivered the sentence in an emotionally charged case.
"The court does find that this crime was committed with a particular cruelty," he told Scott. "If you ever wish to be a free person again, get help for what the court believes is an obvious problem."
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