The former Charlestown man convicted of abducting a woman after she left a downtown Boston bar, taking her to his home, and repeatedly raping her over nearly three days was sentenced Monday to 29 to 39 years in prison.
A Suffolk Superior Court jury last week convicted, Victor Peña, 42, of one count of kidnapping and 10 counts of aggravated rape. Each charge carries a 10-year penalty. The aggravated rape charges were punishable by up to life in prison at the judge’s discretion, according to prosecutors.
Associate Justice Anthony M. Campohanded down Peña’s sentence. He ordered that it be served at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Centerin Lancaster.
The multiple sexual assaults the woman endured at Peña’s hands under “lock and key,” Campo said, “robs the soul, leaving a long-lasting, if not, permanent effect.”
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum said the sentence seemed appropriate, given the nature of the case.
“You never liked to see somebody go away for that long, but I don’t think the judge really had a choice,” Polumbaum said after the hearing. “This kind of crime really does murder part of a person. It’s hard to put it into words beyond that.”
Polumbaum did not read the victim’s impact statement in court, but after the sentencing hearing he described it as “very sobering, very raw and very personal.”
According to a copy of the statement obtained by the Globe, the 27-year-old woman described being haunted by a dark shadow, striving to take up as little space in the world as possible, while juggling anger, exhaustion, fear, and panic.
In the final sentence of the 13-paragraph statement, the woman concluded: “There will never be an end to the number of ways this has destroyed my life.”
The victim told jurors how she awoke unclothed on a grimy mattress in a filthy apartment with no memory of how she got there and no idea where she was. Peña threatened to kill her and she believed him. She said she submitted to repeated sexual assaults over days while fearing for her life.
A series of surveillance video snippets showed Peña’s snowy steps as he crossed paths with the woman on Jan. 19, 2019, after she left Hennessy’s Bar near Faneuil Hall. He led her to the MBTA Orange Line and took her to his apartment in the Bunker Hill public housing development.
The victim’s sister tracked her to the vicinity of the development using a cellphone app. She initiated a search for her sister when she went to Boston police that turned into a citywide effort.
Peña, who had been jailed without bond since his arrest on Jan. 22, 2019, took the witness stand in his own defense. He told jurors the woman asked him for help when he encountered her crossing a street. He could tell she was drunk and wanted to take her to the hospital, he said in meandering testimony. She was the one who wanted to go to his apartment, and she was the one who initiated sex, said Peña, dressed all in black with a rosary around his neck.
Other than his testimony, Peña, who was prone to outbursts, spent the entire trial viewing the proceedings via Zoom from another room in the courthouse. It took the jury two hours to find him guilty.
Peña’s defense lawyer, Lorenzo Perez, did not deny that his client took the woman to his apartment, held her in fear, and had sex with her against her will. He instead asked the jury to find Peña not guilty because of a mental defect.
Such a finding would have resulted in confinement at Bridgewater State Hospital with evaluations every six months for possibly the rest of his life.
During the sentencing hearing, Perez described his client as “oppositional, defiant, and difficult,” and asked that he be afforded as many opportunities as possible for mental health treatment and rehabilitation.
“I don’t know what the diagnosis is, and I don’t know what the terms are,” Perez said. “Something is deeply wrong with Mr. Peña. ... He has some sort of a constellation of symptoms that make it difficult to diagnose.”
Peña’s refusal to cooperate and comply with mental health evaluations hadn’t helped, Perez said.
Polumbaum, the prosecutor, labeled Peña as “dangerous” and a “manipulator” with “no sign of willingness to listen to anybody about anything.”
“Mr. Peña might be the most deliberately difficult defendants this building has ever seen,” Polumbaum said