Man’s Plan Tricks Cops, Results In Assault

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on attempted rape and other charges this week for allegedly sexually assaulting a female victim in her downtown apartment after calling in a bogus assault charge against her boyfriend to get him out of the way.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Ocean City Police responded to a residence on Wicomico Street for a reported sexual assault. The victim told police she was asleep in her apartment, which she shares with her boyfriend. The victim’s boyfriend was out with a mutual acquaintance, later identified as Rodney Gregory Henri, 27, of no fixed address.

The victim told police she awoke to find someone, whom she believed at first was her boyfriend, touching her. As the victim awoke, she quickly became aware the individual assaulting her was not her boyfriend, but instead was allegedly Henri. The victim objected and told Henri to get off her, but Henri allegedly just continued the assault, according to the victim’s testimony.

The victim continued to yell at Henri to stop and was eventually able to push the suspect away. Henri eventually fled the scene and the victim watched as he headed east and then north on Baltimore Ave. The victim said she continued to watch Henri until he disappeared from sight and then called police. Henri was located a short time later in an apartment on N. Division Street and was taken into custody. The victim later identified Henri as her alleged attacker.   

Further investigation revealed Henri had called 911 prior to the alleged sexual attack to report the victim’s boyfriend, Joshua Sowers, 21, of Ocean City, had assaulted him in front of a convenience store on N. Division Street. Henri called 911 and reported Sowers was intoxicated and assaulted him. Henri then called 911 a second time and told dispatchers Sowers was still in front of the store and that he had a knife.

According to police reports, Henri then lurked in the shadows near the store and watched as Sowers was arrested on suspicion of assault, according to police reports.

“It is obvious Henri set in motion the arrest of Sowers in order to clear the way for his sexual assault on [the female victim],” the charging documents read. “The victim was alone, asleep in the room, when Henri broke into the tiny apartment and sexually assaulted the victim against her will.”

The victim and her boyfriend told police the door to the apartment was closed and locked when the two men left. According to police reports, Henri forced entry into the unit and assaulted the victim.

“He then entered the unit without permission with the sole intent being to sexually assault and probably rape [the victim],” the charging documents read. “The rape plan was thwarted by the [victim’s] resisting his attack and yelling. Her actions alone caused Henri to flee the area and seek refuge in the apartment where he was later arrested.”

Henri was charged with attempted second-degree rape, first- and third-degree burglary, second-degree assault and a third-degree sex offense. He admitted to police he did not have a fixed address because he had just been released from jail on a prior conviction just 10 days earlier. In April, Henri was found guilty of second-degree assault and resisting arrest for an incident on March 14 and was sentenced at the time to 30 days in jail.

Meanwhile, Sowers was not charged in the bogus assault claim called in by Henri prior to his attack on the victim. However, a background check revealed he was wanted as a fugitive in Virginia. He was taken into custody and is being held pending extradition to Virginia.