man gets prison for attacking girl
inquirer staff writer
the homeless man who tried to rape an 8-year-old girl and left
her for dead in the bathroom of a center city public library
last year devastated the child, her parents, and their chinatown
but the impact of that one man and his horrific crime also
continues to affect the entire city, common pleas court judge
pamela pryor dembe said yesterday. the subsequent expense of
posting security guards, in part, has led to recent cutbacks
in service and hours at library branches around philadelphia.
"what kind of society have we become?" the judge wondered aloud
before she sentenced brian mccutchen to 35 to 70 years in prison.
"he is horrifyingly dangerous to small, female children," dembe
said. "i need to make sure he can never do this again.
"... everything that i see here convinces me that he will continue
to be dangerous. he is a predator in the truest sense of the
word," she said.
"all [of the libraries' good work] is at risk because of what
one man did," added dembe, a former board member of friends
of the free library.
in addition to the lengthy sentence, dembe ordered mccutchen,
24, to participate in sex-offender treatment in prison, and
to spend 10 years on probation after his release.
the girl's parents sat close together in the front row of the
courtroom, and the mother openly wept when dembe issued the
sentence. the judge also spoke about the suffering of the girl,
now 9, and her family.
"i am convinced that this young victim will have emotional
problems - probably for the rest of her life," dembe said.
assistant district attorney deborah harley told the judge:
"the violence of this crime is unspeakable. no words can describe
what this little girl went through... . it was an unfinished
"... as soon as this little girl screamed, he grabbed her neck
and squeezed what he thought was the life out of her. and then,
when she was limp, he pulled down his pants, and pulled down
her pants, and tried to rape her," harley said.
the child was found unconscious and partially undressed, wedged
between a toilet and a wall at the independence branch library
on seventh street near market. she was hospitalized in critical
condition after the feb. 7, 2004, attack.
mccutchen's dna was later found on the girl's clothing, harley
harley said that one year later, the girl and her parents continue
"she is unable to dress herself. she is unable to feed herself.
she is afraid to go anywhere alone," harley said. "she is afraid
to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night - she wakes
up her mother - because she is afraid."
mccutchen bowed his head and cried as he addressed the judge,
asking for treatment and a "second chance."
"i know that there's no excuse for what i've done, and not
even a good explanation. and i know that nothing i could ever
do or say would make up for the pain i've caused that little
girl and her family," he said in a low voice.
"for what it's worth, i'm sorry for what i did," mccutchen
his attorney, assistant defender everett gillison, told the
judge that while the crime was heinous, his client took responsibility
by pleading guilty last year to attempted murder, attempted
rape and related crimes.
mccutchen has a past of abuse, mental illness and homelessness,
"this is not a person that is a monster. this is a person who
struggles, and struggled with what his response should be when
he realized what he had done," gillison said.
mccutchen had served six months for a july 2000 attack on a
9-year-old girl in a restroom at manayunk's venice island recreation
staff at city libraries reported to authorities that before
the attack last year, mccutchen had been repeatedly kicked out
of libraries for viewing pornography on the internet and publicly