Lehigh Valley

Rape of 3-year-old 'nothing short of monstrous'

Easton man could spend up to 80 years in prison

EASTON, Pa. - A 20-year-old Easton man could spend up to 80 years in state prison for twice raping a 3-year-old girl and videotaping the attacks.

Northampton County Judge Leonard Zito on Friday sentenced Courtney Thompson Jr. to 20 to 40 years in prison for each felony count of rape of a child. He ordered that Thompson serve the sentences consecutively, so he won’t be eligible for parole until he serves at least 40 years.

Thompson will also face a lifetime registration as a violently sexual predator for his likelihood to re-offend, a designation the defense did not dispute.

Authorities began investigating Thompson in June 2016, when the girl’s mother reported finding a video of her daughter on Thompson’s cell phone. Easton police arrested the then 19-year-old last September.

He pleaded guilty in February to two counts of rape of a child. In exchange, prosecutors withdrew other charges.

The victim’s family stood before the judge Friday as others read victim impact statements. The girl is undergoing weekly therapy sessions and is unwilling to accept affection from others, according to the family.

“Her childhood was robbed from her at the age of three,” the girl’s grandmother said in her statement.

Thompson’s parents tearfully addressed the court, telling the judge that they couldn’t understand their son’s actions and hoping that he gets all the psychological help he needs.

Thompson, meanwhile, begged for the family’s forgiveness even though he acknowledged that he had no right to do so. He told the judge he prayed his victim would forget what he had done and admitted that he needed “intensive help” and time in prison.

Defense attorney Anthony Rybak called Thompson a broken person, not an evil one. He’s embarrassed and ashamed and acknowledges the long-term affect his crime will have on the victim, Rybak said.

The defense went so far as to argue Thompson recorded the rapes because he wanted to get caught.

But the prosecution called Thompson a danger to society, who deserves no mercy.

“What he did to that child is nothing short of monstrous,” Assistant District Attorney Tatum Wilson said, noting that the videos nearly brought veteran police investigators to tears.

Predators like Thompson are the most terrifying in society because they have no mental health issues, no history of drug or alcohol abuse, no educational impediments and have a family he described as “close,” Wilson said.

As a minor, Thompson committed another assault and received treatment at the Children’s Home of Reading, according to Wilson.

“And not only did he re-offend, but he escalated,” she said.

Wilson bristled at the notion that Thompson recorded his victim because of a hidden desire to be caught. He did it because the videos aroused him, and he victimized the girl every time he watched them, she said.

The defense had argued Thompson took complete responsibility for his actions in agreeing to plead guilty. But Wilson countered that he only pleaded guilty in the face of unsurmountable evidence, including being caught on his own video committing the crime.

Before imposing sentence, Zito called Thompson’s crime “almost unspeakable” and said it’s clear “he cannot be part of our society.”

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