180 days in sex case | TheUnion.com

180 days in sex case

The 41-year-old Grass Valley woman who pleaded no contest to having sexual relations with several juveniles last year was sentenced to 180 days in jail and five years’ probation Monday.

Authorities say Mary Catherine Brown had sex with at least four teenagers at a Nevada City hotel and bought them marijuana and alcohol between Feb. 14 and March 20, 2003. She pleaded no contest to six of 19 criminal charges against her in October.

Before the sentence was issued, Brown’s lawyer, Jess C. Bedore III of Roseville, asked Judge Albert P. Dover “not to pound this woman into the ground.”

He said his client’s alcoholism led to the sex crimes and that Brown was also wronged by the teens.

“This is not a rape case,” he said. “This is some street people and an alcoholic.”

Deputy District Attorney Charles O’Rourke told the judge that Brown purposely got the teens drunk so they would do what she wanted.

“I’m offended at the characterization of the victims as street people,” O’Rourke said. “She initiated the contact. On some of those young people, this may have lasting results. She is not the victim.”

Authorities were alerted to the crimes when Brown and her husband reported she herself had been the victim of sex crimes by the teens. During the investigation by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, she became the suspect.

The crimes took place after Brown moved away from her husband into two hotel rooms at the Northern Queen Inn in Nevada City, according to court documents. She met one of the juveniles at a Grass Valley bar and had sex with him that night, as well as several nights later, court records stated.

Brown first believed the juvenile was at least 21, Bedore said. The teenager reportedly invited other friends to Brown’s hotel room the following day, and Brown claimed they held her down and sodomized her. She then moved to another room in the hotel and reported the juveniles would not give back her truck, cell phone and ATM card, and that they stole jewelry from her.

In court records, Brown admitted she continued to have sexual relations with one of the teens after learning he was underage. She said the teenagers made her buy them alcohol and marijuana. She also had to give them thousands of dollars and her vehicle, she said.

Brown and her husband also said two of the teenagers later tried to blackmail them for about $1,000.

Last October, Brown, who has been out of jail since March, pleaded no contest to:

– Touching an intimate part of a 17-year-old while he was restrained.

– Taking part in the sodomy of a second 17-year-old.

– Damaging property that belonged to a third 17-year-old.

– Two child welfare charges of claiming jurisdiction of a 17-year-old as her own.

– Molesting another 17-year-old.

Charges dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors included participating in oral copulation and intercourse with a 17-year-old, molesting and claiming jurisdiction of a 17-year-old, providing alcohol to four 17-year-olds, touching an intimate part of a 17-year-old, and providing alcohol to three 18-year-olds and a 19-year-old.

Bedore said Brown was “drunken as a skunk” when she committed the crimes. He said her drinking was what caused her to move away from her husband and have sex with the teenagers.

“Alcoholism has hands around her throat,” he said. “Once she starts drinking … she cannot stop until she is passed out.

“These are impulsive acts (she was) acting out because of a midlife crisis,” he said. “Ms. Brown looks good today. That’s because she hasn’t had a drink in nine months.”

Brown wore a black suit to court and her hair was dyed red. She did not speak.

“You have a 41-year-old lady who has never had a (legal) problem in her life,” Bedore said. “She wants to rehabilitate herself. She wants to show she is not a criminal.”

Bedore asked Dover for a sentence leaning toward therapy instead of jail time.

“She wants (therapy), and she needs it,” he said.

Dover told Brown her drinking problem does not take away from the seriousness of what she did.

“Alcohol doesn’t make crime less criminal,” the judge said.

Brown was sentenced to 180 days in jail, which she may be able to complete on house arrest, on weekends or at nights if her request for an alternative sentence is accepted.

The sentence will start March 8.

Dover also sentenced her to five years of supervised probation, ordered her to pay $200 restitution to victims, register as a sex offender, attend a one-year drug program, have no contact with minors and not come inside any alcohol-oriented businesses, such as bars..

Her maximum jail time for the six crimes to which she pleaded no contest would have been one year, O’Rourke said.

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