A man with a long history of taking advantage of teenage girls and others could spend the rest of his life in prison after a judge’s ruling and sentencing Thursday.
Bruce Carey, 57, of Schenectady, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on his conviction earlier this year on third-degree rape and other charges.
The case centered around a bruised and battered 15-year-old girl who walked into the downtown Schenectady Burger King the morning of Feb. 9, 2010, vomiting and asking for paramedics. She had escaped from Carey’s nearby apartment, and Carey was ultimately identified through DNA as having had sex with her.
The sentencing came after acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye ruled Carey was a persistent felon, making him eligible for a sentence with a maximum of life in prison.
In making her ruling and sentence, Hoye said she most wanted to ensure that Carey — who has spent only about five of the past 30 years outside of prison — had supervision if he ever got out again.
She said he “has certainly shown over the years, from repeated arrests and convictions, that he is a predator and that he is not capable of rehabilitation.”
Carey’s defense attorney, Cheryl Coleman, argued that Carey should be sentenced under lesser rules. Without the persistent felon ruling, Carey potentially faced up to 21 years in prison.
Coleman focused on pretrial plea deals from prosecutors, in which Carey was offered as little as four years in state prison in exchange for a guilty plea.
Prosecutor Jessica Lorusso countered that Carey has never taken responsibility for his crime. The plea offer was only to spare the victim from having to testify.
Lorusso recounted Carey’s criminal history, which includes a 1992 Schenectady County drug dealing conviction and a 1982 promoting prostitution conviction in Albany County.
The 1982 case was a high-profile trial that drew intense media coverage. 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.
In that case, Carey was sentenced to seven to 20 years in 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 Carey’s latest case was not told of his criminal past. But it was that past that helped lead to his arrest.
While the incident is alleged to have happened in early February 2010, Carey wasn’t arrested until January 2011, when DNA testing matched him to evidence collected in a rape exam kit. Carey’s DNA had been included in the state’s database because of the prior drug conviction, authorities said. The database link wasn’t mentioned in court to the jury, only that an “investigative lead” surfaced.
Lorusso argued Thursday that Carey’s character warranted the possible life sentence, as did his behavior.
Hoye sentenced Carey after Carey gave his own long and defiant statement, with accusations against the victim and the prosecutor and complaints about Hoye herself.
Carey, who is black, made several references to race and called Schenectady, the town he grew up in, “worse than Mississippi.”
He denied any wrongdoing and said he plans to appeal. Coleman said she believes several issues from the trial could lead to a successful appeal.
Hoye’s sentence of 15 years to life was the minimum allowed after her earlier ruling that Carey was a persistent felon. Under the complex sentencing guidelines, Carey also could have faced far less time in prison or as much as 25 years to life.