PITTSFIELD — A Chatham, N.Y., man was sentenced Monday to up to 10 years in prison for attacking two women and attempting to rape them in separate incidents that occurred in 2018.
Andrew Gombar, 36, was found guilty on two counts each of assault with intent to commit rape and assault and battery, and one count of kidnapping. Before sentencing him in Berkshire Superior Court, Judge John Agostini described Gombar as, "a very scary person."
Gombar's jury-waived trial before Agostini took place in mid-December. The facts of the case were not in dispute at that point — only whether Gombar was criminally responsible for his behavior at that time. Agostini found him guilty on all counts.
The first incident occurred in January in Great Barrington, while the second happened in July in Lenox. In both incidents, Gombar approached the women and grabbed them with the intent of raping them. Each of the women was able to get away.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph asked Agostini to consider two back-to-back prison sentences of five to eight years each, meaning Gombar would serve anywhere from 10 to 16 years.
Gombar's attorney, Lori Levinson, said she was "shocked and horrified" by the state's recommendation and countered with a suggestion of a two-year prison sentence with mandatory, intensive mental health treatment.
Yorlano called Gombar's actions among the most terrifying in Berkshire County.
While in pretrial custody, Gombar kept a journal in which he detailed both assaults and made his intentions clear, Yorlano said. He acknowledged his recommendation fell outside of the state's sentencing guidelines, but said the harsher sentence was warranted considering the facts of the case, the planning that went into the assaults and the emotional trauma inflicted upon the victims.
Levinson noted that medical experts who testified at trial agreed that Gombar suffers from a very serious mental illness. She said Gombar's thinking was erratic, delusional and confused, adding that he lacked an organized plan and wasn't prepared to carry out the assaults.
"He had no idea what he was doing," Levinson said.
Levinson noted Gombar's military service and his college degree and said that with the right treatment, he could once again, be a productive member of society.
"What he needs is help," she said.
Agostini said Gombar was a man with very disturbed thinking and took note of the amount of planning that went into both assaults. However, the judge said there was no reason to deviate from the sentencing guidelines and handed down a five- to 10-year prison sentence.
The first attack occurred around 10 p.m. Jan. 7, 2018, outside a Subway restaurant in Great Barrington. Gombar grabbed a woman and told her, "This is going to be a rape."
The woman was able to get away and take a picture of Gombar's truck. Gombar spent up to three hours outside the restaurant waiting for an opportunity, and he had parked next to the woman's vehicle.
In his journal, found during a search of his cell in May 2019, Gombar wrote about the January assault and said he "wanted to rape a very good-looking young woman."
In March 2018, he was indicted on charges connected to the January assault and released on bail.
On July 2, 2018, while out on bail, Gombar grabbed a woman on a hiking path near Olivia's Outlook in Lenox and tried to drag her into the woods. That woman was able to get away and contact Lenox Police, who arrested Gombar later that day.
He also documented the July assault in his journal, "again, looking for someone to rape."
Gombar described returning to the scene to pick up potential evidence dropped by the woman and wrote about returning again to see if the assault was being investigated. Gombar left the area when he saw police there.
After his indictment on charges from the July incident, he was held without bail.
He will serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.