A Schenectady man who spent 25 of the last 30 years in state prison, part of that time for his role in a underage prostitution ring, is on trial in Schenectady County Court on rape and prostitution charges involving an underage girl.
Jurors in the case, though, will get only a glimpse of defendant Bruce Carey’s past, according to pretrial rulings, and then only if he testifies.
Prosecutor Jessica Lorusso outlined the prosecution’s current case against Carey in court Tuesday afternoon, arguing it was the 54-year-old North College Street resident whose DNA was found in a rape kit examination of the 15-year-old victim.
The examination was performed after the battered and bruised girl walked into the downtown Burger King the morning of Feb. 9, 2010, sick and vomiting and asking for paramedics. The girl had escaped from Carey’s apartment, Lorusso said.
A customer tended to the girl and police were called. The girl told authorities she had been raped, brought up from her home in Harlem and forced into prostitution.
“This case is about picking your victim,” Lorusso told the jury in her opening statement. “And that’s just what Bruce Carey, the defendant in this case, did.”
Lorusso said there would be inconsistencies in the girl’s recollections, but, the fact will remain that Carey’s DNA was found in her most intimate areas.
Carey defense attorney Cheryl Coleman focused on those inconsistencies in her opening statement, including how the girl got to Schenectady. The girl originally told police she had been chloroformed and kidnapped off the street, Coleman said. She actually came up on a bus willingly.
She also had reason to lie, Coleman said. She was absent without authorization from a “secure facility” in New York City. In the end, Coleman told they jury, there will be no other conclusion than to find Carey not guilty.
“This case is crazy,” Coleman told the jury. “What you’re going to hear, what you’re going to see over the next few days is crazy.”
Carey faces one count each of first-degree rape, third-degree rape, third-degree criminal sexual act and second-degree promoting prostitution.
While the incident is alleged to have happened in early February 2010, Carey wasn’t arrested until January 2011 after his DNA came back as a match to the DNA found in the rape kit exam. The match was made through the state DNA database, in which Carey was included because of a prior drug conviction, authorities said previously. The database link wasn’t mentioned in court to the jury, only that an “investigative lead” surfaced.
Carey’s drug conviction, in 1992, and the prior promoting prostitution conviction in 1982 put him behind bars for about 25 of the past 30 years.
In the 1982 case, Carey was convicted in Albany County of felony promoting prostitution after a high-profile trial that drew intense media coverage. In that case, a jury found Carey guilty of transporting a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl to a Colonie motel to profit from their prostitution. The 17-year-old testified that Carey beat her repeatedly.
He faced similar charges in Schenectady County, where he was charged with forcing a 15-year-old girl to engage in prostitution and profiting from the prostitution of a 16-year-old Schenectady girl in 1982. Those charges were reduced after his convictions in Albany County.
On the Albany County conviction, Carey was sentenced to 7 to 20 years in state prison. He was paroled by 1991, then was arrested again, this time accused of running a drug den in Schenectady. He was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison in that case, and was released in 2006.
The jury in the current case, however, will get to hear only some of Carey’s past and then only if he testifies. Prosecutors lost a bid in pretrial arguments to have portions of his record available as evidence.
If Carey testifies, prosecutors won the right to ask Carey about his previous felony convictions, but the convictions only, not the underlying facts.
If convicted in the current case, Carey’s criminal history could make him eligible for persistent felon status. He faces up to 25 years in state prison if convicted of the first-degree rape count. If he is deemed a persistent felon, the sentence could be 25 years to life.
Carey took both his previous cases to trial. In the current case, he was offered a plea deal earlier this month that would have resulted in four years in state prison, but he rejected it.
Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye is hearing the trial now under way. It is expected to last about a week.