In a sentencing that could serve as a warning to sexual predators preying on the helpless, two men from Blaine, Tennessee, were sentenced on Monday to over 20 years in prison for raping two men at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. Dusty William Oliver, 41, and Richard Graham, 49, were found guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse.

While Oliver received a sentence of 300 months in prison, Graham was sentenced to 230 months behind bars. Following their sentences, both men will be under supervised release for a period of 15 years. They will also have to register as sex offenders in the state registries and adhere to special sex offender conditions while under supervised release.

Jail
Jail (Representational Picture) Pixyorg

"The defendants exploited vulnerable victims; however, the victims were brave enough to come forward and report their attacks. The victims' cooperation throughout the investigation and prosecution was necessary, and I commend them for seeing it through," said US Attorney J. Douglas Overbey, in a statement.

Preying on the Helpless

According to the authorities, Graham and Oliver sexually assaulted two different male victims in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in June 2012 and in November 2015. The duo preyed on men who were homeless, heterosexual, and drug-addicts. Their rationale was that such victims were not likely to report attacks on them to law enforcement authorities.

Mysterious illness
Victims (Representational Picture) Pixabay

The modus operandi of the culprits was simple. They befriended unsuspecting victims along the roadside in Knoxville. Later, they convinced the victims to accompany them to the national park. Both the victims were deceived into hiking along unfamiliar trails in complete darkness. Then, Graham and Oliver raped the men together.

Justice Prevails

Following their crimes, the two Blaine residents evaded the law for a long time. A determined investigation by special agents from the US Department of Interior National Park Service in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park led to the building of strong cases against them. The victims also helped the authorities with their testimonies.

Cassius Cash, Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, thanked the several law enforcement departments whose efforts led to the apprehension and charging of the two sex offenders. He added, "To ensure that we've heard the voices of all victims, investigators continue to welcome any information about additional assaults that may be associated with Graham and Oliver.