James Young

James Young pleaded guilty to second-degree rape on Wednesday. (OPSO)

An Independence man who pleaded guilty to second-degree rape and purse-snatching received a 35-year sentence under an agreement with prosecutors Wednesday.

James Young, 30, pleaded guilty before Criminal District Court Judge Laurie White, according to the office of Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

Young was initially charged with first-degree rape. He will be subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender under the terms of the sentence.

Authorities said Young approached a woman on the sidewalk in the 1400 block of Chartres Street about 2:40 a.m. Apr. 16 as she was walking home from a bartending shift on Frenchmen Street.

Young tackled the woman to the ground then raped and robbed her, prosecutors said. Authorities said his escape was captured on surveillance video.

The District Attorney’s Office said the victim testified in court before Young received his sentence.

“We are gratified that the hard work of New Orleans police detectives and our prosecutors crafted a case so solid this defendant was forced to admit his guilt,” Cannizzaro said in a statement. “The agreed-upon sentence spares this victim the rigors and uncertainty of a trial, while ensuring this defendant will not be able to harm another woman in such a horrendous manner ever again."

Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli prosecuted the case. Young was represented by Leon Roche, a staff attorney for the Orleans Public Defenders.

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msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432