Friday, March 14, 2014
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Brian Stowe sat with his head down as, one by one, three women walked to the front of a Wisconsin courtroom and described their shock at finding out their close friend had drugged them to the point of unconsciousness, then sexually assaulted and photographed them.
The Madison resident assaulted a total eight women over a three-year period, one of whom was a 17-year-old girl. After pleading guilty to 27 felony counts in December, Stowe was sentenced Friday to the equivalent of a year per count in state prison.
Dane County Circuit Judge William Hanrahan said Stowe, 29, will first serve 15 years in federal prison on a federal conviction of sexual exploitation of a child. After that, Stowe will serve 27 years on the state felony counts — 16 counts of sexual assault and 11 counts of taking or possessing sexually explicit images of his victims.
Stowe shook his head each time his victims, the judge and prosecutor accused him of drugging the women, and defense attorney Dennis Coffey said there was no proof the women were drugged.
But the judge, whose voice wavered as he described a "cold and calculated" series of attacks, said he had no doubt that Stowe drugged the victims before the assaults.
"The devastation ... is spread far and wide in this community and it makes us all feel less safe," Hanrahan said.
Police arrested Stowe last year after the 17-year-old reported that he drugged and sexually assaulted her as she lay unconscious in bed in October 2012, and took photos and videos of it.
Madison police widened the investigation, searching his apartment and finding images of more women on his computer and other devices.
None of the women knew Stowe had filmed them and expressed shock at the discovery of the explicit content on Stowe's computer when police first contacted them. Some of the victims worked with Stowe at Epic Systems, a health software company in the Madison suburb of Verona. Prosecutors said photos of one woman were taken during an out-of-state business trip in 2010.
Stowe's sentence includes at least one year for each of the eight victims. Five victims were in court Friday and one listened over the phone.
"He's not sorry he did it, he's sorry he got caught and he's acting the way he thinks he should," one victim said. The Associated Press doesn't generally name victims of sexual assault.
The victims that spoke each asked the judge to give Stowe a sentence that would include time for each victim; some asked that he receive a life sentence.
Hanrahan read off a list of traits associated with psychopathy and said he believes most of them apply to Stowe.
"These were not mistakes," Hanrahan said. "... You have forfeited your right to walk freely among us for a very long time."
Before he was sentenced, Stowe apologized to his victims, saying, "I'm not going to have the normal life I would have had I not committed these acts. Please do see the good that does exist in me."
Several of Stowe's family members were in the courtroom but declined to speak after the sentencing. His defense attorney declined to speak as well.
In October 2012, the 17-year-old told police that she and Stowe shared a cab home and that he told her he'd take her home. Instead, she fell asleep in his apartment after drinking a glass of water, she told the police.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said during January's federal sentencing that at one point during the video Stowe made that the girl asked Stowe, "What are you doing?"
Prosecutors initially charged Stowe, who has dual U.S. and British citizenship, with 62 felonies, but his plea deal reduced it to 27.
The state asked for a sentence of 130 1/2 years, 84 1/2 in prison and 46 under extended supervision. Stowe's attorney had asked for the minimum bail that would protect the public and provide rehabilitation and punishment to Stowe.
Follow Taylor W. Anderson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TaylorWAnderson .