THE BRONX — A counselor who pleaded guilty to raping a mentally disabled woman apologized to the victim's family in court on Wednesday, but the victim's mother was not having it.
"How could you take advantage of a handicapped young woman?" Wilma Ramirez asked convicted rapist Thomas Lang. "My daughter does not speak, and she has the mind of a child."
Lang, 62, was employed as a counselor at Abbott House, an organization that works with developmentally disabled people and needy children and families. He pleaded guilty on March 29 to raping the woman in 2015 at the Abbott House at 3553 Rochambeau Ave., according to court officials.
"This defendant’s crime was horrendous and cruel," Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement. "He raped a non-verbal, severely mentally disabled woman for whom he was supposed to be caring."
The 33-year-old victim became pregnant after the rape, and her family was forced to get her an abortion at 22 weeks, according to Ramirez.
"You're a coward," she said to Lang. "You're not even a real man because a real man wouldn't do something like this."
Lang himself expressed surprise that he was able to commit such a heinous crime, maintaining that he is "to this day still shocked as to how I was capable of such a wrongful act."
"Please forgive me," he said, "and I also pray that not only my family but God will forgive me as well."
Lang's attorney Peter Tilem said that, although his client accepted full responsibility for his actions, "there are clearly some underlying mental issues that need to be addressed."
Lang was sentenced to 12 years in state prison by Judge Ralph Fabrizio, and he will also have to register as a sex offender.
Fabrizio sternly rebuked Lang's behavior before handing down the sentence, saying he had no idea what would cause someone to commit a crime as reprehensible as Lang's.
"What I think is it's pure selfishness," Fabrizio said. "It's late at night, and you're here, and she's here, and she can't scream out, and she can't say no."