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State's Attorney's Office
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Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: 240.777.7300
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 Press Releases


June 18, 2012

For more information, contact:  John J. McCarthy, (240) 777-7390

Seth Zucker, Communications Director, (240) 777-7345
 

LIFELONG SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED TO THREE LIFE SENTENCES

John J. McCarthy, State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, announced that Ralph Choate, 58, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced today to three consecutive life sentences by the Honorable Sharon Burrell Circuit Court, Montgomery County, Maryland. Choate was convicted by a Montgomery County jury of one count of First Degree Rape and two counts of First Degree Sex Offense on March 15, 2012. The three consecutive life sentences were the maximum sentence that the Defendant could have received.  

On February 5, 2011, at around 7:00 a.m. Choate arrived at the home of the female victim, who had hired him as a handyman. The victim let him in the house, showed him to the laundry room where the repairs were to take place, and went into her kitchen to make tea. When she turned around Choate was standing behind her. He told the victim “lets you and me get it on.” When the victim ordered Choate out of her home, he grabbed her. The victim attempted to struggle but Choate produced a screwdriver and held it to her throat. Choate then forced her into the living room where he forced oral and vaginal sex on her.

Choate has a long history as a sexual offender. He was first prosecuted in 1987 by John McCarthy, when he was an Assistant State’s Attorney. In total he has been convicted of 11 felonies in three states, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Nine of the convictions are from four incidents of rape and one attempted rape.
           
The details of the previous crimes are detailed in the State’s Memorandum in Support of Sentencing, which is attached.

“The Defendant is a career, lifelong sexual offender” McCarthy said in reaction to the sentencing “I first prosecuted him for Rape in 1987, and 25 years later he is still preying on woman in our community. He has proven that he will be a threat to our community for as long as he lives, and we hope this sentence ensures that he spends the rest of his life in prison.”

In making today’s announcement, McCarthy thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Sherri Koch and Mary Herdman for their prosecution of the case.  McCarthy also praised the Montgomery County Police Department for their investigation of the case.