An Erie County Court jury took only part of Friday afternoon to find a Buffalo man guilty of six separate offenses in the sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl in 2015.
Jurors convicted David Rath, 37, of three counts of predatory sexual assault of a child, two counts of attempted rape of a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
Rath, who has five prior felony convictions for property crimes, has been jailed since his arrest shortly after the incident for violating his parole.
Rath knew the girl apparently planned the assault before he offered to take her for a ride at about 8:30 p.m. on May 24, 2015. He drove her to a storage unit that Rath rented on Dingens Street.
Rath had the girl drink a drug-laced can of beer and made her undress once they were in the storage area, according to evidence presented by Erie County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Haggerty.
The girl’s graphic testimony and that of experts who detailed her injuries, revealed an assault that lasted more than an hour. During that time the child was thrown against boxes, struck in the face, battered and forced into sexual acts that made her vomit and cry.
“The kicking, the crying and the bleeding were only obstacles (to Rath),” Haggerty told the jury in his closing argument. “In a fit of frustration he punched her in the face.”
Investigators linked the girl's DNA to blood on boxes in the storage unit and found Rath’s DNA on semen found in the bottoms that the girl was wearing that day, along with on other items.
The abuse finally ended when one of the girl’s family members sent repeated text messages wondering where the girl was and why she wasn’t home. That obviously irritated Rath, Haggerty said.
“One thing that stuck with me,” Haggerty told the jury, “was his comment as he finally gave up: ‘This is pointless.’ In his estimation, the worst hour of this little girl’s life was ‘pointless.’ ”
Rath reportedly ordered the child to lie to her family about what happened about how she got the bruise on her face. The ruse lasted less than a day. The next afternoon, the child confided to a relative what Rath had done to her, and police obtained a warrant to search the storage unit.
Judge Sheila A. DiTullio set sentencing for March 23, when Rath, as a prior felony offender, faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.