On November 7, 2014 in a courtroom overflowing with media, former naval officer Sean Patrick Banks learned his fate after a jury convicted him in June of raping a woman he met on ChristianMingle.com in 2012 and of raping another woman he met on Match.com in 2009. Judge Daniel B. Goldstein showed no mercy for Banks when he sentenced him to 37 years to life in state prison, telling Banks that he showed no remorse for his victims.
K.K.’s Victim Impact Statement to the Court:
Prior to sentencing, K.K., the woman Banks met on ChristianMingle.com and was convicted of raping, rose to give her victim impact statement to the court. She was accompanied by high profile attorney Gloria Allred, who was hired after the trial. K.K. told Judge Goldstein that she is a Christian, that her decisions are made through God, and that she joined ChristianMingle.com as she wanted to meet a Christian man. She said that when Sean Banks came to her apartment, during a fight scene in a movie they were watching, Banks “put his hand tightly around my neck and told me that he thought it was crazy, with just one twist you could snap someone’s neck and kill them.” She detailed how Banks kissed her aggressively before forcing her into her bedroom where he raped her. She talked about her life after the rape, stating, “I learned that surviving rape can make you feel dead inside.” She described her struggle with depression and how she has been picking up the pieces of her life. K.K. said she has since found healing, although she thinks about the rape every day. K.K. told the court that Banks’ mother contacted her family through Facebook, with the message to tell the truth. K..K. closed by saying that she is praying that Banks will tell the truth, that he will understand what he has done, and that he is not above the law. She asked the Judge to give him the maximum sentence.
Sean Banks’ Statement to the Court:
Sean Banks next addressed the court telling Judge Goldstein that two years ago he was a doctoral candidate and was preparing for a prison ministry. He said that he still has his faith in God and then quoted a scripture verse from Genesis, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” In choosing this Biblical passage, Banks compared his situation to that of Joseph, whose brothers sold him into slavery, yet Joseph eventually rose to become a great leader in Egypt and saved his people from famine. Banks concluded his statement by saying that he would be willing to consider dropping his appeal if K.K. would submit to a polygraph examination.
Judge Goldstein’s Tough Words & Sentence:
When it was Judge Goldstein’s time to talk, he did not hold back, saying Banks’ own statement, which had been secretly taped recorded by the police, convicted him. Judge Goldstein described the statement as “awful, awful,” and that Banks retched out hatred of women in general and of K.K. in particular. During this interview, Banks demeaned K.K., which was “appalling.” Judge Goldstein stressed that Banks showed a lack of respect for women and for God. To emphasize his point, he turned to specific portions of Banks’ interview, where Banks is heard on tape theorizing that K.K. made up the rape because he had failed her representations of a Godly man, and that what he did with K.K. was tantamount to her doing with Jesus himself. Judge Goldstein said that particular statement was arrogant and the definition of rape. He went on to say that Banks could have expressed remorse at some point in the case, but never did so, and continued to show no remorse. “Asking the victim to take a lie detector test shows a lack of remorse. That’s the essence of rape. It’s domination. It’s control. It’s you’re better than anybody else and you’re better than these women.” Banks shook his head “no,” which prompted Judge Goldstein to say that he could shake his head all he wanted. Judge Goldstein then imposed a 37 year sentence in state prison and a 10 year restraining order prohibiting Banks or his family from contacting any of the women.
At the press conference following the sentencing, Deputy District Attorney David Williams III said that he was happy with the sentence, although he had requested 68 years to life. He explained that Banks would have to serve 85% of the sentence before he would be eligible for parole. When the verdict was announced on June 23, 2014, Mr. Williams told the media, “This defendant is a very dangerous, serial date rapist and potentially a sociopath who feels no remorse, and refused to admit he had done anything wrong.” Once again, Mr. Williams described Banks as a predator and when asked what he thought about Banks’ courtroom statement, responded that it was arrogant, but “that is who he is.”
K.K. appeared before the cameras and said that she was willing to disclose her full name of Katie Kuhlman as she wanted to come forward as she did not want other women to experience what she had gone through. She then reiterated portions of her victim impact statement. Attorney Gloria Allred next addressed the media and said that Katie had met Sean Banks through a dating website, saying “Millions of women use these sites with the hopes that they will find the right person for them. The women often have no idea that many of these sites are used by dangerous sexual predators”. She described Katie as a vulnerable young woman and Banks as aggressive. She lauded Katie’s courage and told people to beware of the risk of on-line dating, warning that “danger may be ahead.” When asked by a reporter what she thought of Banks’ statement and offer, she responded that in her 39 years of practicing law she had never heard a statement so disrespectful to the jury’s verdict and that she was glad that the court picked up on that. She concluded with the announcement that Katie would not be taking a lie detector test as she would not dignify that request because the jury had already believed Katie.
The press conference was finished by Brian White, Sean Banks’ defense attorney. He emphatically stated that Sean Banks was not a sexually violent predator and that there was no violence used in this case. He said that the case was about “consent given” and “consent withdrawn” and emphasized that when the women said, “Stop,” Sean Banks stopped. He maintained that the conviction was based on the women’s words alone, and that there was no other evidence. He said K.K. refused a DNA test, there were conflicting statements, testimony was refuted by witnesses, and that a crucial piece of evidence was destroyed (a videotaped statement of K.K. was taped over at the La Mesa Police Department). He said that the case was about character assassination. He vowed to continue to fight through an appeal and concluded by saying that the offer stands for K.K. to take a polygraph.
To See Photos of Sean Banks and Media Coverage of the Case, Please Go To The Following Links: