Raping illegal woman punished with 48 months

POSTED: 09/6/12 11:39 AM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced Emanuel Velasquez yesterday morning to 48 months for raping a woman repeatedly in a hotel room at the Travel Inn in Simpson Bay on December 30 and 31 2009. Of the sentence 12 months are suspended and Judge Mr. Tamara Tijhuis imposed 2 years of probation. The defendant was not in court to hear the sentence and for the time being he remains a free man.
Velasquez (31) was 28 when he raped the victim, who was more or less his girlfriend at the time. The woman, who was 31 at the time, did not have valid papers to stay in St. Maarten and Velasquez exploited that fact to his advantage.
On December 30, 2009, he took the woman to the Travel Inn in Simpson Bay. When she refused to enter the building, Velasquez said that he would report her to the police if she did not go with him. In the room he demanded sex and when the woman refused, he threatened her again with the police. The victim was raped repeatedly, and then taken outside to eat something.
Upon their return to the hotel she went to sit on the floor in the lobby while Velasquez bought something from a snack machine. When she refused to follow him to the hotel room he grabbed her by her hair, hit and bit her and dragged her upstairs. The woman cried for help but the night clerk on duty, who made a statement to the police, did nothing, even though it was clear to him that she did not want to go with Velasquez.
The defendant held the woman against her will in the hotel room where he raped her repeatedly. On December 31 a girlfriend reacted to a call for help from the victim and she came to the hotel. Only after she gave Velasquez a taste of his own medicine (by threatening to call the police) did he let her into the room and take the victim away.
Judge Mr. Tamara Tijhuis rejected the defendant’s attorney Mr. Cor Merx’ demand for an acquittal based on what she considered obvious typos in the summons. The rape took place in 2009, when St. Maarten was still an island territory, and the summons should therefore have stated that the crime took place on “the Dutch-Antillean part of St. Maarten.” Instead it just mentioned St. Maarten, but Mr. Tijhuis ruled that this did not lead to any misunderstandings about where the crime had taken place. The judge also dismissed possible confusion about the victim’s identity.
Judge Tijhuis ruled that the victim’s statements are consistent and that there is sufficient supporting evidence.”That the victim changed her statement on minor points after she filed the complaint does not affect its credibility and reliability, especially since two years have passed between the two statements she made.”
Mr. Tijhuis concluded that the defendant had consciously created a threatening situation for his victim in such a way that she was unable to resist him and felt forces to undergo his sexual assaults.
The judge noted that it is possible to rob someone of her freedom even if this happens in a space that is not locked. Mr. Merx had used the argument that a hotel room door is not locked with a key from the inside and that it had therefore been possible for the victim to escape. The defendant’s actions had the same result as a door locked with a key: he used violence to take her to the room, he kept the key with him, he grabbed the victim when she wanted to leave and he held her illegal status over her head by threatening with phone calls to the police.
“By threatening with the police if the victim did not do what he wanted, the defendant has abused her position in a gross way and made her dependent on him. Without considering the victim, the defendant only had his own sexual satisfaction on his mind. His acts are a serious violation of the victim’s physical and moral integrity,” the ruling states.
Because Velasquez did not have a police record and because more than two years have passed since he committed his crime, the court sentenced him to a lower sentence than the 8 years prosecutor Mr. George van den Eshof demanded at the trial on August 15.

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