The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA)
BYLINE: Patriot Ledger staff
Judge gives former Quincy resident 20-year sentence for 1988 Conn. attack
DANIELSON, Conn. - A sexual predator who a judge said "honed and perfected" his technique while living on the South Shore was sentenced to 20 more years in prison following his conviction for a 1988 rape in Connecticut.
James Thomas Ward, 44, was living on Cummings Road in Quincy when he was first linked through DNA to the rape of a 20-year-old newlywed at her Killingly home.
The woman was home alone on a weekday morning when Ward knocked on the door, saying he had car trouble. He talked his way into the house and the woman gave him water for his car. He left but returned a few minutes later with a knife and threatened to kill the woman before raping her.
Judge Patricia A. Swords on Tuesday called the crime "heinous to the extreme" and sentenced Ward to 20 years in prison. She threw out a jury's guilty verdict on the charge of first-degree kidnapping, which dropped the maximum sentence by 25 years.
The victim was in court Tuesday and took exception to the judge's ruling.
"It's been over 20 years," she said. "I'm very confused. I'm very angry. What I don't understand is why we bothered to have a trial."
Connecticut prosecutors successfully argued that the five-year statute of limitations on sexual assault cases did not apply because Ward had fled the state and was living in Massachusetts, first in Braintree and later in Quincy.
Swords said Ward was "honing and perfecting his technique" when he sexually assaulted a student in her dorm room at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy a year after the Killingly rape. Ward had tracked the young woman, broke into her dorm room in the middle of the night wearing gloves, and then raped her, Swords said.
Ward also was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman, who was sunbathing in her driveway in 1994. He was jailed in 2004 after several domestic violence and probation violation charges.
In court Tuesday, defense attorney William Petzold said Ward, who is serving a prison sentence in another case, has had success in sexual offender treatment and asked that Ward not be "warehoused for the rest of his life."
Ward apologized in a tearful plea for leniency.
"I do know it was a horrifying and traumatic experience that you in no way deserved to endure," Ward said. "I've had this on my conscience for more than 21 years."
Swords said Ward's actions, including the fact that he took the case to trial and made the victim relive the horror of the assault, were inconsistent with someone who is remorseful and looking to ease his conscience.
Material from GateHouse News Service was used in this report.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
International Association for Property and Evidence
"Law Enforcement Serving the Needs of Law Enforcement"