A Rockville man was sentenced to 40 years in jail Wednesday after he pleaded guilty in February to attempted first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offense, prosecutors said.
Roberto Cruz Gonzalez, 20, of the 4300 block of Federal Street, will serve 25 years of a life sentence for the first-degree sexual offense and another 15 years for the attempted rape charge, said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to both charges on Feb. 16, according to court documents.
“When someone stalks an innocent passerby at a shopping mall, pounces on them with a rope and sexually attacks them, they must be held accountable,” county State’s Attorney John McCarthy said in a press release issued after Gonzalez’s sentencing. “ ... This sentence sends a strong message that rapists and sexual assailants will be caught and punished. It will not be tolerated in our community.”
Assistant Public Defender Sherryl G. Statland, Gonzalez’s defense attorney, did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The charges stem from Oct. 26, 2010, when Gonzalez approached a lone female victim at about 11 p.m. as she was walking behind the Panera Bread Restauraunt in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center at 13500 Connecticut Ave., court documents state. Gonzalez attacked the woman from behind as she crossed Connecticut Avenue, Korionoff said.
“He tied a rope around her neck and dragged her into a wooded area where he attempted to rape her,” he said.
Gonzalez became frustrated when he couldn’t achieve an erection and tried to force the victim to give him oral sex, but the victim bit him, drawing blood, the documents state. Gonzalez beat the victim, then fled the scene, police said.
Detectives developed Gonzalez as a suspect using a combination of video surveillance taken from the shopping center, DNA samples taken from the crime scene and interviews with Gonzalez’s employers at a nearby Olney restauraunt, the documents state. A warrant was issued for Gonzalez on June 22, 2011, and he was arrested the next day, according to court records.