Updated 09/30/2010 05:40 PM
Former SUNY Cortland professor sentenced for rape
The victim of a SUNY Cortland professor speaks out in court. Daniel DePerno pleaded guilty to raping the young woman when she was a child. Our Tamara Lindstrom was in the courtroom Thursday and tells us what the victim and the defendant had to say.
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- His lawyer said it was done out of kindness.
"Dan did not want the victim to have to testify in front of a jury, so he wanted to spare her that embarrassment," said defense attorney Randolph Kruman.
Former SUNY Cortland professor Daniel DePerno pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one criminal sex act, a deal reached with prosecutors after he was initially charged with more than 30 sex crimes beginning when his victim was 13-years-old.
"The Dan DePerno that lived behind the doors of that house was a tyrant and he made the lives of all of his family members atrocious," said Assistant District Attorney Veronica Krause.
An investigation into a burglary at the victim's home turned up evidence of years of abuse.
"It seemed like around every corner there was something new, some big piece of evidence that we would discover," Krause said.
Prosecutors charged DePerno's wife and mother of destroying some of that evidence, but those charges were dropped as part of the deal.
"He was a very manipulative man and so it was an extension of that manipulation that we felt led those woman to do what they had done," Krause said.
Before the judge handed down a sentence of 10 years in state prison, DePerno's victim addressed the court and her abuser. She counted off the days, hours, minutes and seconds he would spend in prison. She told DePerno she was happy to move on with her life while he would be forgotten.
"He's got a lot of remorse," Kruman said. "And I think his remorse is sincere. He has acknowledged that what he did was wrong and that, of course, is the first step in trying to cure the issues."
The tearful defendant begged his victim for forgiveness but she wouldn't hear it. She left the courtroom before he made his plea.
The judge expressed concern that the community needs to be protected from DePerno. He was sentenced to 10 years of probation after his release.