Woman sentenced in "rape prank" stalking case - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Woman sentenced in "rape prank" stalking case

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former "Mother of the Year" who waged a harassment campaign against a couple who bought a Carmel Valley house she wanted, culminating with a Craigslist ad encouraging men to go to the home and rape the wife, was sentenced Friday to a year on electronic home surveillance and five years probation.

Kathy J. Rowe, 53, was also ordered to stay away from the victims for the next 10 years. The defendant, who currently lives about a mile from the couple, pleaded guilty last year to a felony stalking charge.

According to the prosecution, Rowe -- a former county employee -- placed an online ad sometime between October 2011 and June 2012 inviting men to come to the victim's home and rape her.

A Superior Court judge originally dismissed the sex solicitation charges, but the District Attorney's Office appealed the decision and the 4th District Court of Appeal reinstated the counts.

Defense attorney Brad Patton said his client -- named "Mother of the Year" in 2006 for the work she did for her disabled daughter -- wanted to buy the home in Carmel Valley to be in that school district and better care for her child.

Rowe made it clear to detectives that she posted the "prank" ad due to the enormous stress she was under, and at no time intended to do any harm to the victim, according to Patton.

At the time, Rowe was suffering from a lack of sleep due to caring for her daughter -- who's now 16 -- and her husband, who had just had a heart attack, Patton said.

Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh said Rowe harassed the victims for months and ultimately placed the ad on Craigslist, encouraging men to contact the homeowner for sexual favors while her husband was away.

"What she did is very serious," McHugh said outside court today. "She terrorized these people from October of 2011 to June of 2012, culminating in sending men to the victim's home, to essentially rape her. This was extremely dangerous, this was very serious, and this was completely unprovoked."

Rowe apologized for her actions and said she was "humiliated" by her behavior.

"I'm just very sorry," the defendant said.

Jerry Rice said the defendant terrorized his family at a time they were welcoming a second child into the world. He said he is now sleep-deprived, on anti-anxiety medication and has taken self-defense classes to protect his family.

His wife, Janice Ruhter, said she felt safer away from home when Rowe was harassing her family.

"The house became my prison," Ruhter said.

Judge Kathleen Lewis called Rowe's behavior "scary," but said she believed the defendant was truly remorseful.

"What I see is a Jekyll and Hyde, almost," the judge said, telling Rowe she was lucky the solicited rape never happened.

In return for her plea to stalking, prosecutors dismissed felony charges of solicitation for rape, solicitation for sodomy and misdemeanor charges of identity theft and making annoying or threatening communication.

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