Counselor at Home for Mentally Handicapped Gets 12 Years for Rape of Non-Verbal Resident
As a counselor, Thomas Lang, 62, was supposed to care for the residents of Abbott House, but instead, he targeted one of its most vulnerable.
A Connecticut man who pleaded guilty to raping a severely mentally disabled woman at the Bronx facility where he worked has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the crime, which authorities described as “horrendous and cruel.”
As a counselor, Thomas Lang, 62, was supposed to care for the residents of Abbott House, an organization that provided assistance to needy children and families, as well as mentally handicapped adults.
Instead, he raped one of Abbott House’s most vulnerable residents, a non-verbal, severely mentally disabled 33-year-old woman who couldn’t cry for help as she was being attacked, prosecutors said.
“This defendant’s crime was horrendous and cruel,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement Wednesday, calling the rape “heartless.”
Abbott House officials realized something was horribly wrong when they realized the victim was 22 weeks pregnant, according to the New York Daily News.
Male staffers were made to submit DNA samples, which led authorities to Lang, authorities said.
The victim’s family was forced to get her an abortion, which required that she be taken off certain medication and as a result, has suffered serious side effects, her mother told the court.
“How could you take advantage of a handicapped young woman?" the victim’s mother asked Lang, according to DNAinfo.com. “My daughter does not speak, and she has the mind of a child.”
The victim has had trouble sleeping since the attack, her mother said.
Lang pleaded guilty on March 29 to one count of first-degree rape. He also waived his right to appeal.
Supreme Court Justice Ralph Fabrizio sentenced Lang on Wednesday to 12 years in prison and to 20 years post-release supervision. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender, authorities said.
“Please forgive me and I also pray that not only my family but God will forgive me as well,” Lang reportedly said in court.
Lang had worked at Abbott House for about 10 years and has no known prior criminal history, his attorney, Peter Tilem, told InsideEdition.com.
"He expressed remarkable remorse for what happened, and he is just very sad about the damage he's caused to himself, to his family and to the victim," he said.
But Lang’s pleas for forgiveness fell on deaf ears.
“You're a coward," the victim’s mother said to Lang. "You're not even a real man because a real man wouldn't do something like this."
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Fabrizio had his own words for Lang.
“What I think is; it's pure selfishness," the Judge said, according to DNAinfo.com. "It's late at night, and you're here, and she's here, and she can't scream out, and she can't say no."
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