20 years for rapist

Judge: Assault on homeless woman worst to reach his court

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Describing a 2001 sexual assault as the worst example of that crime ever to reach his courtroom, Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks today sentenced Donald Seaman to 20 years in prison for raping a homeless woman over the course of two days last April.

Seaman, 47, received 30 years in prison, with 10 years suspended and five years of probation. He had pleaded no contest in December to a charge of first-degree sexual assault, a felony. Original charges included two counts of burglary and one count each of kidnapping and assault.

Seaman declined comment during his sentencing.

Assistant District Attorney Sue McLean asked for the maximum sentence allowed by law given the brutal nature of the crimes and their long-term effects on the 43-year-old victim, whose name was not released.

The victim willingly went with Seaman on April 14 to an abandoned house on Decker Way to drink with him, McLean explained during Seaman's sentencing. The woman later showed up at the back door of the Glory Hole, covered in blood and begging for help, McLean said.

Despite Seaman's claims that the incident was consensual, McLean said there was no way it could have been.

"Over the course of the weekend, he held her hostage while he repeatedly sexually assaulted her," she said. "There was so much damage to her colon from this assault that it had to be removed. At one point, shortly before this trial was scheduled (Dec. 12), she took a turn for the worse and lapsed into a coma. Thankfully, she is out of that now, but certainly physically, mentally and emotionally she will never be the same."

Joan Decker, former executive director of the Glory Hole, told the Empire last April that the woman also had been beaten with a baseball bat during the attack.

"Despite his insistence that this was all consensual, he was covered in the victim's blood when he was arrested," McLean said. "No one would consent to that much violence."

McLean said the victim continues to require medical treatment.

She said Seaman's prior felony record included an attempted sodomy charge in New York in the late 1970s.

Public Defender Darrel Gardner recommended a sentence of 10 years for his client.

"Since the end of his parole in 1987, he's been gainfully employed and had no further contact with the law," Gardner said. "He's shown remorse and also shown he has no memory of violence that night as he was highly intoxicated at the time."

Gardner said Seaman seems to be violent only when he has been drinking, but is capable of staying away from alcohol.

Judge Weeks did not agree, imposing the maximum sentence.

"This is among the worst if not the worst sexual assaults in the first degree to come before this court," Weeks said at the sentencing.

"This is the kind of offense that in different generations people hearing of this would have taken severe actions against you in ways that would have landed them in prison," he told Seaman. "So that our society doesn't degenerate into taking the law into their own hands, we need to reaffirm that when something like this happens, the punishment is severe, and people go away to prison for a long time."

Weeks further sentenced Seaman to pay restitution to cover the cost of the victim's substantial medical bills, the amount of which will be set later. Seaman also was sentenced to attend mandatory drug and alcohol counseling, sex offender treatment therapy and anger management while in prison.

Gardener said his client plans to appeal the sentence.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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