2 Sentenced In Plumbing Snake Attack

Tuesday, October 23rd 2007, 3:28 pm
By: News On 6

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- Two teenagers who used a plumbing snake to brutally attack a developmentally disabled handyman at a bowling alley were sentenced Tuesday to long prison terms.

Steven Rodriguez, 19, was sentenced to 20 years for attempted predatory sexual assault and aggravated sexual abuse. Michael Lunsford, 17, received 16 years for first-degree assault. Both pleaded guilty last month and must register as sex offenders when
they are released.

The defendants, both of Shirley, New York, were arrested last October after accosting the 21-year-old man in the bathroom of a bowling alley in their hometown on Long Island.

They forced a plumbing snake, used to unclog drains, into the worker's rectum and spun it several times, causing him severe pain, internal injury and bleeding, police said. The victim spent four days in a hospital.

"This was a cruel and sadistic crime with no other purpose but to torture another human being," Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said after the attack.

Police said Rodriguez and the victim, whose identity was withheld, had known each other for at least five years, having met when they were at a children's psychiatric center in Dix Hills.

Steven Rodriguez "had a personal animosity toward the victim" and had bullied him during that time, police said.

The victim's mother, who did not disclose her name in order to protect her son's anonymity as a victim of a sex crime, said her son no longer works at the bowling alley but enjoys a new job, which she did not describe.

"He's very happy," she told reporters outside the courtroom. "I think he has, more quickly than all the rest of us, put it behind him and he's moving forward."