Thomas Bryon Stemen, who jabbed his semen into a stranger at a Maryland grocery store last year, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the unprovoked syringe attack.
A Maryland judge described it as a “bizarre and disturbing” attack while handing down the sentence last week, after Stemen pleaded guilty to first- and second-degree assault charges earlier in the summer.
“The defendant’s actions were truly horrific,” State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said in a statement. “He intentionally went out into our community with the goal of assaulting unsuspecting women.”
Surveillance cameras captured Stemen’s semen-filled syringe attack on video in February 2020 at the entrance to a grocery store in Churchton, Md.
The video shows Stemen passing close to the victim, Katie Peters, as she reaches for a shopping cart at the front entrance. Stemen brushes by and furtively jabs her in the buttocks, prompting her to jump and recoil in surprise.
Peters initially thought she’d been prodded with a lit cigarette, WBALTV reports. She turned around and Stemen made a joke about the jab.
“It felt like a bee sting, didn’t it?” he allegedly said.
Peters felt a wet spot around the site of the jab and discovered that it was turning into a big red mark the following day, authorities said. She reported the incident to police and they used surveillance footage to identify and arrest the suspect.
Authorities recovered the syringe along with two additional vials of semen from Stemen’s car. The semen belonged to Stemen, lab tests later confirmed.
Stemen also tried to jab two others with his “semen-filled syringe” that day, including a 17-year-old girl, authorities say. Stemen pleaded guilty to a second-degree assault charge for that encounter and the girl was not harmed, officials said.
Stemen had moved to Maryland from Ohio shortly before the attack, local broadcaster FOX 5 reports. His criminal record includes six convictions between 1986 and 1996.
The 53-year-old was also given an additional five years’ probation and must stay away from the grocery store where the attack happened, the Southern Maryland News Net reports.
Doctors gave Peters a cocktail of preventive medications after the attack, just to make sure that she didn’t get any infections from the prick.