PROVIDENCE — A Providence man accused of participating in a gang rape of an unconscious 16-year-old girl at a house party pleaded no contest on Wednesday and was sentenced to more than a decade in prison.
Malcom Baptista, who is now 21, is one of eight men who Providence police say were involved in sexually assaulting the teenage girl. Now, he’s the fifth of the group ordered to serve time for the horrific incident.
Baptista pleaded no contest to first-degree sexual assault, conspiracy, possession of child pornography, and obstruction of justice. Superior Court Judge Richard Raspallo sentenced Baptista to 20 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions, with 12 years to serve and 20 years probation.
Baptista must also register as a sex offender, complete sex offender counseling, and be subject to community supervision. He was ordered not to contact the victim.
The girl had little memory of what happened to her at the party in December 2019, according to police and court documents. She told police that she remembered feeling sick from drinking and smoking. She remembered a man holding her down on a bed and pouring Hennessey down her throat. She woke up at one point and realized she was naked in a bathroom shower, as men laughed at her and appeared to take videos or pictures of her.
She also remembered being taken into a bedroom. She woke up the next day with vaginal pain and cuts on her thighs, according to police and court records.
Although she and her family reported the attack right away, she didn’t know the men’s names. But then, in the summer of 2020, a video appeared on Facebook that showed the unconscious girl being sexually assaulted by multiple men.
Providence detectives Jared Sherman and Koren Garcia used that video and others to help them identify Baptista and the other men involved in the crime. Nearly all already had criminal records.
Providence Police Chief Oscar Perez said in a statement that the attack was a “horrific and disturbing crime that has caused pain and suffering to the victim and her family.” Perez said he was proud of the detectives and thanked the prosecutors, Assistant Attorneys General Joseph McBurney and Meghan McDonough.
The assault had reminded investigators of what happened 40 years ago to a young woman at Big Dan’s Tavern in New Bedford. In March 1983, Cheryl Ann Araujo, 21, was gang-raped by four men on a pool table while bystanders watched and cheered.
Baptista “violated that most basic principle — that every person, at all times, under all circumstances — is entitled to be free from an assault against their person,” Attorney General Peter F. Neronha said in a statement Friday. “The defendant took advantage of the young victim’s helpless condition. He demonstrated utter disregard for her. The significant prison sentence he now faces is more than warranted. It is justice.”
The cases against the two remaining men charged in the case are pending in Providence County Superior Court.
Amanda Milkovits can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.