Delaware convicted rapist’s appeal denied

DOVER — A convicted rapist’s arguments to nullify his 395-year prison sentence fell flat in Kent County Superior Court last week.

Bruce A. Rowan, 42 years old during a sexual relationship with an underage girl he fathered a baby with in 2009, claimed his case was allegedly mishandled and that he received ineffective counsel that ended in a guilty finding after a jury trial in 2010.

Revisiting a defense that his conduct was “consistent with rural-American cultural practices” was also deemed meritless by Commissioner Andrea Freud in a 16-page report and recommendation to deny post-conviction relief.

His claim that he and the minor were “already married under an America culture practice” did not override or invalidate Delaware law, either.

The state’s case was justified by the evidence against Rowan, the commissioner determined, and five guilty findings of fourth-degree rape and 56 counts of breach of conditions was warranted.

”The evidence supporting these convictions consisted of statements made by the juvenile victim to the police, her testimony at trial, and the fact that she had been impregnated by Rowan,” according to the report. “Clearly, there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction.”

Rowan’s incarceration with ordered to conclude after 120 years, followed by probation, according to sentencing on Jan. 27, 2011. He was deemed a habitual offender by the Court.

According to the facts of the case earlier considered by the Delaware Supreme Court, Rowan began the relationship after the victim told him he was 23, but she was actually 16 years.

The girl moved into Rowan’s residence and then told him her correct age shortly after she became pregnant, the documents stated.

“Rowan moved out and began a relationship with another woman,” the report included. “(The victim) then contacted the police.

“After the baby was born, a DNA test confirmed that Rowan was the father.”

The breach of condition stemmed from Rowan’s recorded phone contacts with the girl while being held at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna after an arraignment on Dec. 28, 2010.

Court appointed attorney Natalie S. Woloshin was removed from representing Rowan’s nine-claim appeal on Oct. 27, 2015 after concluding it “was wholly without merit and that no meritorious grounds for relief existed.”

After a request for substitute counsel was denied, Rowan opted to represent himself on Aug. 11, 2016.

Deputy Attorney General Stephen R. Welch Jr. argued against the appeal for post-conviction relief.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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