Nineteen-year-old Filipino immigrant Reynaldo B. Brucal Jr. pleaded guilty Wednesday, November 15, to raping a severely and mentally handicapped resident of a health care facility at suburban Bloomingdale, Illinois that must have occurred in the late part of 2004, which gave birth to a daughter.
Brucal faces “a maximum prison term of 30 years,” according to his lawyer Frank T. Scarpino, quoting Illinois State prosecutors.
Scarpino told this reporter in an interview that he has not yet explored the possibility of presenting in court mitigating circumstances, like asking the court to cut short the sentence of Mr. Brucal so he can take care of his daughter.
In November 2005, Brucal confessed, claiming that a latex hospital glove he improvised as a condom failed, according to DuPage Assistant State’s Atty. Robert Berlin.
Brucal, a native of Lucena City in the Philippines, did not look at the members of his family, including his father and his mother, or the victim’s family on Wednesday as he answered Bakalis’ routine questions. The woman, who is now staying in another nursing home with her similarly disabled twin sister, was not in court.
A green card holder, Brucal is going to be deported shortly after he serves out his sentence, according to Judge Bakalis. The sentence could range from six to 30 years.
Brucal, a resident of 1066 N. Knollwood, Schaumburg, Illinois, was originally charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault of physically handicapped person and another two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault of person profoundly mentally retarded. These four charges were reduced to three as there were duplication of the charges. Each count carries a six to 30 years imprisonment.
The grandmother of the woman expressed relief that the case was over. It is the victim’s mother, who is taking care of the 16-month-old child.
The attention of the Filipino American community was riveted to the case when Chicago area NBC-Channel 5 TV broke the story on the air with a first sentence, “An 18-year-old Filipino was accused of raping …|”
The station was swamped with hundreds of email protests, phone calls and faxes, calling the generic use of “Filipino” word “insensitive,” “unnecessary,” “false generalization,” and “encompassing” since the “Filipino” word not only applies to the nationality and ethnicity but also to the name of the language and culture of the Philippines.
The general manager of the mainstream TV station Larry Wert immediately and privately apologized after getting threat of boycott and mass action by area Filipinos.
Wert also met with leaders of the ad-hoc, incipient “Coalition of Concerned Citizens for Fair and Unbiased Reporting” that was formed following the broadcast of Brucal’s case. Wert also paid a visit at the Rizal Center, home of the Filipino Americans of Greater Chicago, an umbrella organization, and met with FACC officers and its board.
Mr. Wert recently received an award from a Filipino community organization for his involvement in Filipino community affairs.
But the firestorm of protest did not draw a public apology that should have been aired on the NBC-Channel 5 TV that the “Coalition of Concerned Citizens for Unfair and Unbiased Reporting” had demanded. This should have attracted the attention of the mainstream viewers and resulted in a resolution that henceforth mainstream reporters should be sensitive in using terms that could amount to racial slurs.
NBC-Channel 5 TV … mollified the incident by featuring in their broadcasts some Filipino area events among them the Christmas Bazaar at the Rizal Center last year, the fight of Filipino World War II veterans for the passage of “Filipino Equity” bill, the FACC’s Mrs. Philippine beauty pageant, which pledged to donate 20 percent of its proceeds to the care of the baby delivered by the mentally handicapped victim; and the Leyte muslide disaster.