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Victim faints during emotional sex assault sentencing, tells attacker ‘I’m not going to let you win’


Pablo Moises Alas talks with lawyer Tom Singleton prior to his sentencing Tuesday on charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats. Alas was sentenced to seven years in prison. - Steve Bruce
Pablo Moises Alas (right) talks with lawyer Tom Singleton prior to his sentencing Tuesday on charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats. Alas was sentenced to seven years in prison. - Steve Bruce
HALIFAX, N.S. —

A sexual assault survivor became so distraught during her attacker’s sentencing hearing Tuesday in Halifax that she passed out in the public gallery.

Pablo Moises Alas, 30, of Windsor Junction pleaded guilty in September to charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Timothy Gabriel accepted a joint recommendation from lawyers for a seven-year prison sentence for Alas, who had no previous criminal record.

The judge encouraged Alas to complete a specialized treatment program for sexual offenders that is available in the federal penitentiary system.

“Because of the degree of savagery with which this offence was perpetrated, I suspect that there’s a little more to you than the civilized veneer that meets the court’s eye,” Gabriel said.

“I expect, sir, that you will apply yourself … to see to it that no member of our community is ever victimized or traumatized in the manner of what you did to the victim in this case.”

The incident happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2016, after the woman - a sex trade worker - and Alas went to her apartment in north-end Dartmouth.

They had agreed that Alas would pay her $80 for a half-hour of sexual services, on condition that she did not want her face touched, there would be no anal sex and he had to wear a condom.

After they arrived at the apartment, the victim was sitting on her couch smoking a cigarette when Alas attacked her suddenly and without warning.

Alas punched the woman in the face, choked her and kept her long hair wrapped around one of his hands while he removed her pants.

“As she begged him to stop, he told her she was going to die,” says an agreed statement of facts.

Alas then forced the woman to perform oral sex and raped her vaginally and anally.

The sexual assault began in the living room, moved to the bedroom and ended up back in the living room.

The court was told that Alas punched the woman throughout the assaults and taunted her, asking her if she knew she was being raped and if she wanted to die.

After the sexual assault, Alas began looking for a cigarette. The victim dialled 911 on her cellphone, which was in her coat pocket on the couch.

Although the woman didn’t initiate a conversation during the call, the 911 dispatcher could hear a female in distress and called police.

When police arrived at the apartment, the woman came running out the door, naked from the waist down. She was crying hysterically and screaming that she had been raped. Alas was arrested as he left the apartment.

“I have survived and I wake up every day and I put a smile on my face. I may not ever forget what happened … (but) I’m not going to let you win today.”

The victim was taken to Dartmouth General Hospital, where she was examined by an emergency room doctor and a sexual assault nurse. The woman had swelling and bruising on her face, redness and swelling on her neck, scratches on her upper left thigh, and redness on both knees, her upper left arm and her right shoulder.

The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, read a victim impact statement to the court Tuesday.

“While I read this out loud, I have a heaviness on my chest,” she said. “My worth, my energy, my confidence, my privacy, my intimacy and my voice were all stolen from me.”

She said she suffers from physical and emotional pain almost daily, experiences flashbacks and nightmares and has trust issues with men.

“I feel spiritually broken,” she said.

“(But) I’m not going to let this beat me down anymore. I’m not going to hurt anymore. I’m done after today.”

She said she feared for her life that night but fought hard to stay alive.

“I’ve come a very long way and I have supports and a wonderful therapist,” she said. “I’ve had to learn to rebuild myself and I’m a way stronger woman than I’ve ever been.

“I have survived and I wake up every day and I put a smile on my face. I may not ever forget what happened … (but) I’m not going to let you win today.”

Crown attorney Jane Mills said that during the assault, Alas was aware of the impact his behaviour was having on the victim. “He knew what he was doing,” she said.

She said it was an attack on not just the personal integrity of the victim but on “the values of our society.”

The victim sobbed on the shoulder of one of her supporters as Mills addressed the court. There was a brief recess after court officials realized she had passed out.

The woman returned to the gallery after the break but was overcome by emotion again and left the courtroom as the judge delivered his decision.

Paramedics were called to check on her in the lobby.

“I deserve where I’m going. There’s no excuse." — Pablo Moises Alas

Defence lawyer Tom Singleton said his client’s behaviour was completely unacceptable.

“He deeply regrets his actions that night and the suffering that he has caused the victim and the effect that this has had on his family as well,” Singleton said. “They’re all present here in court today.”

Singleton urged the judge to adopt the joint sentencing recommendation, which he said “is of sufficient length to send a message of deterrence to anyone else who is contemplating or engaging in the type of actions Mr. Alas engaged in.”

Alas told the court: “I deserve where I’m going. There’s no excuse. There’s no apology that I can really say today.”

A presentence report said Alas was ashamed of his actions, which came in the aftermath of a breakup of a three-year relationship.

A sex offender assessment prepared for the court said Alas poses an average risk to sexually reoffend and requires treatment while in prison.

The judge said he was satisfied that the recommended sentence was appropriate and would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

He imposed a seven-year sentence for the sexual assault and three years concurrent for the threats.

Gabriel also ordered Alas to provide a DNA sample for a national databank. After he gets out of prison, Alas will have to register as a sex offender for 20 years and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for 10 years.

“You now have a criminal record for … one of the most serious offences in the Criminal Code,” the judge told Alas. “So you’ve jumped in way at the deep end of the pool, sir.

“The court doesn’t want to see you do anything but apply yourself to the full extent of your efforts to turning your life around – if not for your sake, for your family’s sake and for the sake of all those people out there who have a right to expect better treatment in our society.”


Related story:

Guilty pleas entered in Dartmouth sexual assault

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