Carla Brooks stood in front of the courtroom during the sentencing for her rapist, 32-year-old Spencer Glen Monnett, and delivered a surprising message — I forgive you.
The elderly woman had been brutally beaten and raped in 2018 but came into the courtroom at his 2019 sentencing without any anger. Though Monnett has spent more than a year in prison for the crime, his case gained new attention after being featured on the June 30 episode ABC’s The Genetic Detective. In the episode, viewers watched investigative genetic genealogist CeCe Moore working on her first-ever “hot” case, the violent rape of the 79-year-old woman at her home in Utah.
Moore worked with Brooks, ultimately helping to track down Monnett, who had broken into the elderly woman’s home while she was sleeping and attacked her. Thanks to the work of the detectives, he was arrested on charges of object rape and burglary of a dwelling and ultimately pleaded guilty to both charges in January 2019.
As KUTV reported, one of the more surprising twists came at Monnett’s sentencing the next month, when Brooks recounted how hard she tried to fight and fend off her rapist. Brooks said that though the memories of the attack were difficult, she hoped Monnett would seek treatment and ultimately turn his life around.
The report noted that Brooks told the court that she forgave her attacker and gave him encouragement in overcoming the hurdles he had ahead of him.
“I’m glad I couldn’t see your face that night so I can look at you today with no fear and move forward from this day on,” she told the court.
“You will leave here today with many high hurdles in front of you. I hope you will work hard because I want you to do well. I hope you get the treatment you need to get rid of the darkness that drove you to come into my home.”
The attack also turned Brooks into an advocate for victims of sexual assault, giving her support for greater help and understanding for the trauma that comes during the attack and afterward, when many feel shame. Family members helped to set up a GoFundMe campaign in her name to raise money for groups that help victims.
The sentencing drew national attention at the time, with People magazine writing about how Brooks spoke before the court to offer Monnett forgiveness. The attention from the case’s appearance on The Genetic Detective could help Brooks bring more support to the cause.