KINGMAN - A 38-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for raping his preteen stepdaughter eight years ago.
Robert Patrick Monahan was found guilty by a jury in May of three counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor. Under Arizona Revised Statutes, judges have little discretion in cases charged as dangerous crimes against children that involve sexual assault, and Judge Rick Williams said he had no choice but to sentence Monahan to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years for each of the first three counts.
Monahan did not make a statement during Tuesday's sentencing hearing, but his attorney, Robin Puchek, maintains that the man was convicted based on a false allegation fabricated by a girl angry that Monahan had left her mother for another woman.
The victim in the case, now in her 20s, came forward in 2008 and said that her stepfather began abusing her when she was 11 and the family was living in Utah and continued to do so when the family moved to Kingman in 2002. The woman, who is paralyzed from a car accident and has been confined to a wheelchair since 2000, said it started with Monahan watching adult movies with her before progressing to sexual intercourse while her mother was working the graveyard shift.
No physical evidence was presented during the six-day trial, but three other girls testified that Monahan had inappropriately touched them during a sleepover with the victim around the same time she was being abused. Monahan was sentenced to intensive probation in 2003 after he pleaded guilty to those charges.
Puchek said the victim was questioned by police at the time those charges were levied and said it presented the perfect chance for her to come forward.
Instead, he said, she waited until Monahan left her mother for someone else, which he said was evidence that the abuse never really happened.
One of Prosecutor Megan McCoy's witnesses at trial was an expert on victims of sexual assault who testified that many victims don't immediately come forward when the offender is a family member because they don't want to be responsible for breaking up a family.
McCoy said that in this case, the victim told her friends about the abuse when it happened but that she didn't tell her mom until she was sure she wasn't getting back together with Monahan.
Puchek filed several motions for a new trial based on what he believed to be prosecutorial misconduct on McCoy's part, saying that she referred to Monahan as a predator before he was convicted and openly coached the victim and witnesses during questioning. Those motions were denied by Williams.