NEW PORT RICHEY — Richard Marano, accused in 2007 of kidnapping a woman, tying her up and stripping off her clothes before she escaped, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment.
For pleading guilty in that case and another sex crime, Marano, 37, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
On Oct. 26, 2007, a 34-year-old woman walked up to a couple in the Country Place subdivision in New Port Richey, naked and asking for help. She told authorities she had gotten into a car with a man to get a ride to a friend's house in Hudson. But instead, he drove south, to a warehouse in Odessa, where he covered her eyes with duct tape, took her clothes and forced her to smoke crack cocaine. He took his own clothes off and started to touch her. Then he noticed a window open, and when he walked away to cover it up, she made her escape on foot.
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office charged Marano, a technician at the air conditioning business where the woman was taken.
About a week later, while Marano sat in jail, detectives linked him to another attack from July of that year.
A 32-year-old woman said a man on a motorized bicycle dragged her behind some bushes near Colfax Drive and U.S. 19 and raped her. According to a Sheriff's Office report, the woman saw Marano's picture in a lineup and identified him as the rapist.
A detective asked Marano if he'd ever had sex with a woman in those bushes.
"Maybe," he said, according to the report. "Could've."
In an interview with a Times reporter shortly after his arrest, Marano blamed his problems on divorce and drinking. He said the woman in the warehouse incident had gone there with him voluntarily.
But he was at a loss to explain how she was injured, or what became of her clothes.