June 07, 2006

Guilty Plea in Riverhead Rape

A 17-year-old Riverhead teen pled guilty last week to the January rape of a woman in downtown Riverhead.

Shawn Trent, a suspected member of the Flames gang, was arrested shortly after he attacked a 21-year-old coed in broad daylight on Main Street on January 10. A visitor to the United States on a four-year student visa, the woman was walking to work for her first day on the job when Trent attacked her. She'd only arrived in this country five days earlier and planned to enroll in college.

On the afternoon of the attack, a passerby heard the woman's screams and called the police. Trent was arrested on the scene.

In exchange for pleading guilty to first degree rape and first degree sexual assault, the court promised a sentence of 13 and a half years in prison. A B felony, rape first can be punished by up to 25 years in prison. Prosecutors had asked for a 20-year sentence.

Cast against a backdrop of the August murder of a local woman on Elton Street in Riverhead, the attack spurred concern about the safety of the downtown last winter. Discussing the topic in January, Riverhead Supervisor Phil Cardinale characterized the crimes as aberrations.

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