Westminster sex offender sentenced to life

David John Stultz III
David John Stultz III (Courtesy photo / HANDOUT)

Madi Serio hugged her mom, with tears streaming down her face, as a judge sentenced David John Stultz III to life in prison Thursday.

The man who dragged Serio away from her friends and through the back alleys of Westminster to sexually assault her was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and leg shackles after Circuit Court Judge Thomas Stansfield gave Stultz a life sentence for a charge of first-degree sexual offense and 30 years, which would run concurrently, for a charge of kidnapping.


While the Times' policy is not to identify victims of sexual assault, Serio gave permission to use her name.

On May 5, 2016, Serio was walking with her then-boyfriend and a group of McDaniel College students when Stultz grabbed her, forced her away from her friends and began sexually assaulting her in the backyard of a residence on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to previous Times reporting.


"Every bit of me wanted to run and protect myself, but I was paralyzed with fear. He forced me to take off my clothes and began sexually assaulting me. While he was assaulting me, all I could think about was why I was here and what I had done to deserve this," Serio said in a victim's impact statement that she read during the hearing.

Westminster police officers Timothy Rizzo and Vincent Rife heard Serio's cries and stopped Stultz from continuing to assault her.

David John Stultz III, 49, of the unit block of Carroll Street, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and one count of first-degree sexual offense.

In a news release, State's Attorney Brian DeLeonardo called the two officers heroes. Both were in the courtroom Thursday.

Serio told the judge about the examination she had to go through once at Carroll Hospital, adding her mother's perspective of seeing her daughter in a hospital room but not being allowed in.

"I remember growing up watching 'Law and Order,' but I never thought I would be the one being photographed, tested and swabbed," Serio said.

The assault has had a lasting impact on Serio and her mother, Serio said, but she wants to be able to turn what happened to her into a way she can help others.

"All I want is justice served because no human being deserves to go through what I've been through since it happened. I hope to be able to help someone with this experience and turn unbearable pain into something helpful," Serio said.

Stultz's assault of Serio happened approximately two months after he was released from prison, where Stultz had served 18.5 years for a rape conviction.

This assault is just one of the sexual offenses that prosecutor Stephen Roscher, Stultz's attorney Judson Larrimore and mental health professionals who worked with Stultz described to Stansfield.

Dr. Eric Lane, a licensed psychologist who assessed Stultz, testified Thursday that he diagnosed Stultz with multiple mental health disorders and noted that Stultz showed deficits in attention and academic issues prior to the age of 8. When Stultz was 8, he was in a car crash and sustained a traumatic brain injury, Lane said.

Lane said Stultz's mother said there was a shift in his personality. He was more aggressive and hypersexualized, and Stultz had impulse control issues. He would touch female peers inappropriately and go into the women's room for glimpses of naked girls and women. At 14, he had a sexual encounter with a juvenile, which resulted in Stultz's first encounter with the criminal system, Lane testified.

Stultz was also convicted in 1998 of second-degree rape and sentenced to 20 years, which was the maximum, Roscher said. While in prison, Stultz is alleged to have sexually and/or physically assaulted other inmates, including his cellmate, Roscher said.


Charges were pressed against Stultz for the cellmate's assault, but they were dropped, Roscher said, adding that if they had been prosecuted properly, Stultz wouldn't have been out on May 5, 2016.

"They tell prosecutors don't get emotionally involved. If in a case like this, I don't feel some emotion, I have a heart of stone," Roscher said.

In arguing for a life sentence, Roscher told Stansfield that they had a chance to win the game, making a reference to Wednesday's Baltimore Orioles baseball game in which the game ended with Chris Davis watching the third strike cross home plate. Roscher said the judicial system had swung and missed twice when it tried to stop him with the second-degree rape conviction and sentence, and when it failed to properly bring charges against him for the assault of his cellmate.

"Anything short of giving David Stultz life in prison is losing the game," Roscher said.

In giving Stultz his sentence, Stansfield said that while he tends to lean toward treatment, he was not going to give Stultz a recommendation for the Patuxent Institute, which is within the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

"I think short of the murders I have handled, this is the most serious case I've handled," Stansfield said.


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