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Man sentenced to 12 years in prison for rape, but says he's innocent

A man convicted of raping a woman at knifepoint after breaking into her Fargo Avenue apartment was sentenced in State Supreme Court to 12 years in prison on Monday.

Justice Christopher J. Burns rejected a motion by Cornell U. Long, 29, to withdraw the guilty plea he made in July to one count of felony rape and one count of burglary. Long filed papers arguing that he was forced into his plea by his family and his lawyer at the time; he has since changed attorneys.

Before sentencing a tearful Long told the judge, “I didn’t do it. I was forced to cop to it by my lawyer. I told my lawyer I would take a lie detector test.”

Assistant District Attorney Ryan Haggerty, who prosecuted the case, noted that lie detector results are not admissible in court.

Haggerty also outlined the facts of the case: On July 23, 2015, Long broke into the victim’s apartment, took a knife from her kitchen and went into her bedroom, where he threatened “to slit her throat” while he raped her repeatedly.

“When she resisted, he choked her until she was unconscious, and he beat her, fracturing her face,” Haggerty said.

The young woman, who was a friend of Long’s sister and recognized her attacker, eventually escaped and ran to the store where she worked. The manager called 911 and police apprehended Long on the street a short time later.

The victim was taken to a hospital and her injuries were documented, Haggerty said.

Long was sentenced as a second felony offender based on a 2009 conviction, also for a sex crime.

In addition to the 12 years in prison, Burns ordered 10 years post-release supervision and signed an order of protection to keep Long away from the victim through the year 2036.

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