SOUTH BEND - After she was sworn in, the 20-year-old victim sat down on the witness stand in St. Joseph Superior Court, and unfolded a sheet of paper in her hands.
Seated across the courtroom was a handcuffed Robert Kemp, the man who was convicted of raping her in a Walgreens bathroom on New Year’s Day.
It was her only opportunity to tell the court, and Judge Jerome Frese, why the man deserved the maximum sentence for his crimes.
After a nod from the deputy prosecutor, she began to read.
"I hate you for what you did to me," she said, her voice steady.
Robert Kemp Jr., 31, the man who raped her, looked away.
"You stole my virginity, and I will never be able to get that back."
The woman described how she is too scared to go into a public restroom alone; how she must have someone check every stall to make sure there is no one hiding, waiting to prey on her, as Kemp did.
"I hope you rot in prison," she said.
Judge Frese delivered to Kemp the maximum sentence, or 130 years in prison.
The judge also ordered Kemp to register as a sexually violent predator for life.
"He was like a hunter in the jungle," Frese said. "He looked over the scene, he chose the place to wait, he hid there, he prepared himself … it's like the carnivores that gather around the watering hole. It's terrible."
Kemp hid in the handicapped bathroom stall at Walgreens at Lincoln Way East and Ironwood Drive, until the victim entered following her lunch break.
It was her very first job, and she was so excited to work there, she said.
Kemp came up from behind, put his hand over her mouth and said, "Don't say anything or I'll kill you," according to trial testimony.
He then raped her on the bathroom floor and forced her to perform oral sex. When a co-worker entered the bathroom, the victim escaped from his grasp, running into the store naked, yelling that she had been raped.
Just two days earlier, Kemp had been mistakenly released from prison, despite having an outstanding arrest warrant in Wabash County. He had previously served time for criminal deviate conduct and residential entry.
"He's a sociopath, judge," Deputy Prosecutor Christy Haws said at his sentencing hearing.
Throughout the nearly hourlong proceeding, Kemp said little, except to make a request for a public defender so he can appeal his conviction.
His trial in May lasted three days, and included testimony from the victim. On the last day, he took the stand in his own defense, claiming that the victim had propositioned him for oral sex in the Walgreens parking lot and he had agreed to pay her if they met in the bathroom inside.
The jury didn’t believe his story, and they reached a verdict within about two hours.
Charles Lahey, Kemp’s defense attorney, reminded Judge Frese that his client had an IQ of 66 and an inadequate upbringing. Though Frese mentioned those factors while delivering his sentence, including that Kemp was allegedly molested three times as a child, he said they were not significant enough to be mitigators.
Frese did, however, consider Kemp’s criminal history as an aggravator. He said Kemp’s past of violent crimes, particularly against women, made him a predator.
Haws said afterward she hopes Kemp is incarcerated for the rest of his life.
If Kemp earns good-time credit with good behavior, he will only serve half of his term, or 65 years.
After the sentence was read, the victim and the dozen friends and family seated around her cried and embraced.
The victim put her head on the shoulder of her boyfriend of two years, while others told her how brave she was.
Kemp received 50-year sentences, to be served consecutively, for rape and criminal deviate conduct. The judge added 30 years to the rape charge because the jury convicted him of being a habitual offender.
Staff writer Mary Kate Malone: