Victim to rapist: 'I have survived'

Brown

After describing how Marion Lamont Brown raped her behind an abandoned home in West Ashley, a 25-year-old woman faced her attacker in a Charleston County courtroom Thursday and told Brown he is the one who has lost.

“I assure you he has no power to destroy me. I have survived and I have emerged a victor,” she said. “Each day as his life gets worse in prison, know mine is getting better.”

A judge accepted the negotiated sentence of 30 years in prison after Brown pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and grand larceny of a vehicle. He'll have to serve at least 85 percent of that sentence before he can become eligible for parole.

It was the second go-around for the hearing. On Oct. 4 Brown had a seizure in the middle of his plea, sending him to the hospital and postponing the hearing.

“I think (it) was another part of the roller coaster ride that she faced,” 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said.

May 23, 2011, had begun as a mundane day for the attack victim. She was sitting in her car in a West Ashley parking lot that afternoon. As a pharmaceutical representative, she was getting ready to head to her next appointment.

She was parked at West Ashley Primary Care at 2270 Ashley Crossing Drive when a man she didn't know jumped into her car's passenger seat.

Vulgarities and profanity flew from his mouth as he threatened her life, according to prosecutors.

Brown, 23, forced the woman to drive to a vacant house about a mile away on Sunnydale Drive.

When she refused to go behind the house, Brown carried her back there, according to prosecutors. He took her clothes off and raped her several times before throwing her clothes over the fence and taking off in her car.

Before leaving her there, he even tried to remove her wedding ring. The woman had only been married about one year.

The woman, who will remain unidentified, has questions for Brown she knows she'll never get answers to.

“Why that parking lot? Why my car? Why me?” she asked in court. “People in cars were everywhere and there was absolutely nothing I could do to prevent what happened.”

During the hearing she spoke of her constant fear, her disgust and humiliation. She's been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder, she said.

“I should be enjoying my second year of marriage and the job of my dreams, not feeling emotionally and physically shut down and terrified that my life will never be normal again,” she said in court.

Despite her wounds, she spoke of her road to recovery and how his imprisonment is the first step in her healing.

Brown will serve his 30-year sentence while serving 12 years for convictions in Georgia from 2011 for kidnapping and aggravated assault. About 30 days after he was released on bail for the 2011 charges in Georgia, Brown came to Charleston and found a victim in less than a month, according to Wilson. “He was let out on bond once before and because of that, my life was put in danger,” the woman told a judge.

Wilson, who has been a strong advocate of bond reform, said the woman can help highlight the flaws in the system and ways to improve it.

“That was a bond out of Georgia but there are lessons to be learned as to what happened there,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she admires the woman. Despite the scars that may remain, the woman does not want to be identified by her wounds, as she works to heal herself and help others who've suffered the same fate.

“I am not a victim,” she said. “I am a survivor.”

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.