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Man sentenced to life for rape of 11-year-old

Published Oct. 16, 2005

The verdicts had just been announced. The jury had needed just 26 minutes to convict Marcus Gaynor of raping and impregnating an 11-year-old girl. He bolted, crossing the few paces to the spectator section, and as witnesses later described it, performed a swan dive over the first two rows of pews, smack into the laps of the girl's mother and her boyfriend.

The boyfriend pinned Gaynor to the floor. As bailiffs led Gaynor away, he pointed at the girl's mother, calling her names.

The commotion calmed, and Hillsborough Circuit Judge Harry Lee Coe III reassured startled jurors not to doubt their verdict. This is a 12-time convicted felon and, Coe vowed, he would make sure Gaynor never sees freedom in his lifetime.

That was Monday. Coe delivered on that promise Tuesday.

For three rape convictions, he sentenced Gaynor, 48, to three life sentences to be served one after another. He tacked on 15 years for a conviction on lewd and lascivious behavior.

For all the heartache, at least some good came of the case, said Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Cynthia Heir. The girl learned she was pregnant so late that no bay area clinic would perform theabortion, so money had to be raised to send her to Atlanta. That fund-raising effort has helped begin a bay area fund to help women who need abortions but can't afford them.

The girl had called her mother one day from school because of a pain in her side. The doctor brought in the mother and the girl to tell them the startling news. She was pregnant, more than 20 weeks pregnant, Heir said.

Judy Rivenbark, director of the Tampa Women's Health Center, said few local clinics will perform abortions late in the second trimester. A young rape victim who might never have been examined before might not even sit still for a physical, much less an abortion, so general anesthesia must be used. That must be done at a hospital.

Midtown Hospital in Atlanta specializes in teen abortions in the second trimester, so that's where the girl was sent,

Rivenbark said.

Local clinics long have recognized the need for an emergency fund here, but nothing was ever accomplished, Rivenbark said. This 11-year-old "is one of the reasons we finally started this program here. The hat was passed here and in Tallahassee," she said.

"Sometimes women like this one end up carrying their pregnancy when they don't want to," she said.

"It's bad enough to be 11 or 12 and be raped, but then to become pregnant and there's no statewide funds to help. It was time we did this, and we did it."

DNA testing of the child's amniotic fluid proved 99.94 percent conclusive that Gaynor was the father, Heir said.

Standing before Coe in shackles Tuesday _ Coe had ordered him shackled whenever he's in Hillsborough _ Gaynor said he wanted another trial because he never got to tell his story.

So Coe invited him to tell his story. Gaynor said the girl had crawled into bed with him and lain on him. He said he fell asleep, and when he awakened, he figured something must have happened. But he said he was afraid he would be arrested, so he never said anything to anybody.

Coe then sentenced him to three life sentences.