A Lancaster man will serve up to 30 years in prison for the rape and beating of a woman three years ago in the city.
Robert R. Pitt, now 21, was jailed 11 to 30 years for rape, robbery and related counts regarding the Aug. 10, 2014, attack in the 400 block of South Duke Street.
Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright, while ordering sentence Thursday, called the victim “a hero” for her strength and commitment to hold her attacker accountable.
“He may have chosen you to be a victim of this crime,” Judge Wright told the woman, seated in the courtroom gallery, “But by being here today, seeing this through to the end, you won.
“Your actions give strength to other (sexual-assault victims) to do the same.”
Pitt was a stranger to the victim.
Pitt grabbed the victim and forced her behind a store where he assaulted her and stole her cellphone. She eventually was able to run away.
Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield outlined what happened afterward:
Pitt provided the stolen cellphone to another male. The victim’s father left a voicemail message on the cellphone, which that other male heard, prompting him to contact the victim and return the phone. The victim turned it over to police.
Detectives pulled evidence from the phone and were able to link Pitt to the crime through DNA. Pitt was a prison inmate last year when his DNA profile matched. Lancaster city police Detective Robert Whiteford then filed charges.
The victim’s father, in court Thursday, called Whiteford an “angel” and scolded Pitt for committing one of the two worst imaginable crimes (the other being murder).
Mansfield said “being raped is one of the few things most women fear, one of the most horrific crimes one can commit.”
Pitt apologized, saying he was a juvenile and addicted to drugs at the time of the incident, and wants to “overcome my demons.”
Pitt was a week short of his 18th birthday when he targeted the woman. Mansfield petitioned the case to be tried in adult court; a judge granted that motion.
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