A Santa Ana resident was sentenced Thursday to more than 17 years behind bars for raping a woman who didn’t live to see the punishment handed down for the man who attacked her in downtown Huntington Beach nearly 2 1/2 years ago.
The victim’s parents spoke of the toll of the attack on their late daughter at the sentencing hearing for Kyle Patrick Ryan, who was convicted Sept. 16 of rape, forcible oral copulation and false imprisonment, as well as a misdemeanor count of sexual battery.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Gary Paer sentenced the defendant to 16 years and eight months in prison for the felonies and tacked on another 180 days in jail for the misdemeanor. The 36-year-old defendant, who was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, was given credit for 1,041 days in custody.
Paer said he handed down maximum punishments for the rape and forcible oral copulation counts because Ryan “has a history of violence toward women,” was on probation at the time of the May 5, 2018, crime and “has a prior performance on probation that was unsatisfactory.”
The judge also noted the then-50-year-old victim was “extremely vulnerable due to her intoxicated condition” and that the defendant “violated a position of trust” by stopping and helping her into his car before attacking her.
The victim, who managed to escape and run to a nearby home to get help, did not know her attacker and had no prior relationship with him, police said.
She succumbed to an accidental death when she was 52 shortly before the trial, but Deputy District Attorney Alyssa Staudinger pressed on with the case.
The victim’s mother said her daughter was “pretty, educated, ambitious and self-confident” before she was raped.
“She was an honors student in high school and worked hard to put herself through college, where she earned a degree in computer science,” the mother said. “I always called her my sunshine.”
After she was raped, “she lived in fear at all times. She lost her confidence and she didn’t think she could get a job,” her mother said, adding her daughter was “happy and outgoing” before the attack.
“I watched her suffer for almost two years. She could not seem to heal emotionally from this brutal attack.”
The victim’s father said his daughter had trouble sleeping unless her bedroom was locked, and both parents said she was treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
The defendant testified that he had “consensual” sex with the victim, the judge said, noting the jury did not agree.
“I hope that Mr. Ryan can learn something from this,” Paer said after sentencing the defendant. “You’ll have a lot of time to think about it. What you did was not acceptable anywhere on this planet.”