Joseph Von Britton – Repeat Sex Offender – Warehoused

“Mr. Von Britton, I don’t mean to insult you,” Judge Richard Damiani responded after Von Britton finished speaking, “but I don’t think you’re ever going to be a better person.”

A repeat sex offender was sentenced Friday to serve 16 years in jail for trying to rape an 82-year-old woman last year in North Branford.

Before the sentence was handed down, Joseph Von Britton, 50, apologized to the victim, who attended the hearing, and said he hoped that he would come out of prison a better person.

“Mr. Von Britton, I don’t mean to insult you,” Judge Richard Damiani responded after Von Britton finished speaking, “but I don’t think you’re ever going to be a better person.”

Calling the defendant a “predator,” Damiani said all he could do as a judge is protect society from people like him by warehousing them in jail.

He then imposed a 25-year sentence, suspended after 16 years served, with 10 years of probation.

The 82-year-old victim knew Von Britton, the prosecutor said. Adding to the betrayal was that she knew that Von Britton had a criminal history but still was willing to assist him, “giving him the benefit of the doubt” that he had paid his debt to society, said Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney James Clark.

She apparently didn’t know the nature of his previous crimes, however. Von Britton already was on the state sex offender registry in connection a similar incident in the 1990s.

North Branford police arrested him on May 7, 2008, in connection with the April 2008 attack, according to court records, and he has been jailed since then in lieu of $850,000 bail.

Von Britton pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and third-degree assault.

In a letter read in court by a victim advocate, the victim described how the attack has changed her life. A new widow and living alone, she used to enjoy going out with friends and socializing. Now, as soon as the sun goes down, she closes herself inside the house with windows and door locked, the burglar alarm engaged and lights on in every room.

“Why this person who knew I was 82 years old and alone would want to do this to me I will never know, but he doesn’t deserve to be free,” she said in the letter.

In 1989, Von Britton, then 30, was arrested in New Haven and charged with three counts of sexual assault and criminal attempt to commit assault after he allegedly attacked a woman who thought he was interested in renting an apartment she had in the Edgewood neighborhood. The disposition of that case could not be determined Friday.

The state sex offender registry shows three convictions for first-, third- and fourth-degree sexual assault in the mid-1990s.

Von Britton was linked to last year’s attack by DNA.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”

………Sarah Tofte

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