Maryland Man Sentenced For 2014 State Patty’s Day Sexual Assault
Justin Blake, a 22-year-old non-Penn State student from Maryland, was sentenced yesterday to three to six years in prison for a sexual assault that occurred on State Patty’s Day weekend 2014. Blake was sentenced on charges of sexual assault, burglary, home break-in, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, and criminal trespassing.
At the time of the incident, Blake was visiting friends for the pseudo-drinking holiday. Around midnight on the night of the assault, Blake entered a woman’s dark, closed apartment by hopping a fence and entering through a rear sliding door. Blake, who was a stranger to the woman, proceeded to enter the room where the woman was sleeping and sexually assault her, saying things like “say you love me,” and “you’re mine,” according to court documents.
The victim was able to escape from Blake, and police were able to locate and positively identify him as the assailant via DNA evidence. Blake admitted to the judge that he was blacked out at the time of the incident, citing that he was drinking and had snorted white powder that was offered to him. Blake’s attorney argued that the assault was the result of the heavy substance use and that it was partially the victim’s fault for not immediately recognizing Blake as a stranger.
Both Judge Michael Williamson and the Commonwealth rejected the victim blaming, stating that Blake came to Penn State intentionally for the “booze soaked holiday.” Judge Williamson said also that blaming Blake’s actions on drugs and alcohol would send the wrong message to the community, and that voluntary intoxication is not a defense of crimes. Williamson also rejected the defendant’s claim that the victim was at fault for not immediately recognizing Blake as a stranger, seeing as she was awoken from a deep sleep.
Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller commended Judge Williamson on the sentence.
“We are pleased the Judge did not countenance victim blaming or shifting of responsibility from the Defendant to any other factors,” said Miller. “Our community, our property, and most importantly, our young women are not going to be treated like collateral damage to the various activities that attract people to our community. If you come here to visit, you will abide by the laws and treat our community with respect, or you will be held fully accountable.”
One count of rape, which covered the same conduct as the sexual assault charge, was dropped at the time of the sentencing. Blake will be required to register under SORNA (formerly Megan’s Law) for the rest of his life.