In December of 1970 Russell Benjamin Pearce, was charged by the grand jury in Sullivan County, New York with rape in the first degree. He was accused of picking up a woman that was 19 years old on his motorcycle and taking her to a secluded area in the woods in Fallsburg, New York and raped her repeatedly in a 3 hour time period.

When time come for him to appear in court the man didn’t show up so immediately a warrant was put out on him for his arrest. He had become a fugitive on the run. He was not found until the year 2010 in Pennsylvania but by then, after 40 years, most of the evidence that was held in the rape prosecution was no longer available after four decades so on July 1, 2011 the rape prosecution case was dismissed.

However this didn’t mean Pearce, who is now 74 years old was off the hook though. Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York made the announcement that Pearce had been sentenced yesterday in a White Plains federal court to the statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for unlawfully feeling to avoid the 1970 rape in the first degree charge,

I love the statement Bharara made after…

Justice has a long arm and an even longer memory. PEARCE’s roughly 40 years as a fugitive may have prevented him from being prosecuted for rape, but he will not go unpunished.

When the US District Judge Kenneth M. Karas found that there was substantial evidence that Pearce had indeed raped the victim and he noted the horrific nature of the crime when he imposed the highest available sentence.

I suppose in some way this man is paying for the crime he committed on his victim. Unless you have actually been brutally raped you don’t know how hard it is to live day to day knowing the one that did that to you is out there running free. I am sure Pearce didn’t live a totally comfortable life during those 40 years but I bet at some point he became comfortable thinking he was out of danger.

Five years in prison for brutally raping a woman is not much justice but in this case it is as good as it gets even though it isn’t actually for the rape. I don’t know how the victim feels about this but if it were me I would feel somewhat better.

It is hard to forgive and forget something like this but trust me God helps us learn to deal with it. I hope this victim is living a peaceful life and not one in fear. May God be with her!

Jan Barrett

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