Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Bitter 'Mother Of The Year' Sentenced After Rape Pranks

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

A bitter woman who put out Craigslist ads to get a homeowner raped after she outbid her on her dream home in San Diego has been sentenced to house arrest.

Kathy J. Rowe, 53, was sentenced on Friday to a year of house arrest and five years of probation stemming from the case where she tormented couple Jerry Rice, 40, and Janice Ruhter, 37, for months after they purchased the Carmel Valley home that she badly wanted back in 2011, according to PEOPLE. She's also ordered to stay away from the couple for 10 years.

Rowe, who won a San Diego "Mother of the Year" award in 2006 for her dedication in taking care of her mentally handicapped daughter, had a laundry list of egregious things she did to the couple to make their lives a living hell.

What started off as lame pranks—like sending the couple a $1,000-worth of magazine subscriptions they hadn't ordered to having their mail stop getting sent to them—grew into more disturbing acts as the months wore on. There was that furious neighbor who demanded to know from Rice why he was sending his wife a Valentine's Day card. It turned out that the neighbor wasn't the only one upset—eight other wives in the area received similar romantic cards that Rowe sent out posing as Rice.

Support for LAist comes from

Then there were the Craigslist sex ads Rice found online—with one of them titled "Carmel Valley Freak Show"—that encouraged strangers to swing by the couple's home and surprise Ruhter while the husband wasn't home, reported U-T San Diego. Rowe pretended to be Ruhter while writing responses to these men, one of which read, "I love to be surprised and have a man just show up at my door and force his way in the door and on me, totally taking me while I say no."

The couple says that one man responded to one of the ads and showed up unannounced at their door twice.

Rowe was arrested in 2012, and although she was originally charged with solicitation of rape and sodomy, and harassment, she pleaded guilty last November to a stalking charge.

“A home should be a place of safety and sanctuary, but I never truly felt this way in our house,” Ruhter said in court on Friday. “I felt most secure away from my home. The house became my prison.”

Rowe had told prosecutors that she was "devastated" that she lost the home to the couple because it was the perfect one-story house with a pool and yard for her family; she was taking care of her disabled daughter and husband who was recovering from a heart attack, according to ABC News.

“I just want to say how humiliated I am for my behavior," Rowe said in court. "This is not representative of who I am. I’ve never behaved like this. How much I wish I could go back and take all this away. … All the things I put them through, the stress, the lack of privacy, I’m just very sorry."