Up to 18 years in prison for Pittsfield man convicted of raping teen
PITTSFIELD — "This is about as bad as it gets."
Those were the words of Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, moments before sentencing Omar Enriquez to nearly two decades in prison for repeatedly raping a girl beginning in 2014, when she was about 14.
Enriquez, 43, of Pittsfield, was convicted by a jury in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday of three counts of rape of a child, aggravated by an age difference.
He insisted that he and the girl had consensual sex one time and it was only after she had turned 16, the age of consent in Massachusetts.
Jurors rejected that argument and came back with their guilty verdicts Wednesday, after deliberating for less than two hours.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Andrew Giarolo, who prosecuted the case, sought a sentence of 18 to 20 years.
Giarolo noted that his recommendation fell outside the state's sentencing guidelines, but said there were several aggravating factors that warranted the stiffer sentence, beyond the 25-year age difference between the two.
Giarolo said Enriquez took advantage of a vulnerable victim and the position of trust he had in her life.
He also noted that the rapes were not confined to one isolated incident, but were part of a pattern of repeated assaults up to three times a week for more than a year.
Based on those figures, Ford estimated that the victim was raped approximately 50 times, if not more.
"This was not a momentary lapse in judgment," Giarolo said. "This was repeated and continued abuse of a vulnerable teenager."
The victim's father addressed the court and spoke about the changes he saw in his daughter during the time she was being assaulted by Enriquez, including struggling at school and self-harm, and how her life has changed for the better since Enriquez has been out of it.
Despite those changes, her father said the effect of the trauma lingers, and that his daughter will always wonder if she is being manipulated by people in her life. He wondered whether he and her mother should have seen or realized something sooner.
Ford reassured him that Enriquez was the only person responsible for what happened to his daughter.
"Don't blame yourself," he said. "It's not your fault."
Enriquez's attorney, Nathaniel Green, argued for a sentence of 10 to 12 years, which would satisfy the minimum mandatory and still provide what he called a "fair and significant sentence."
Green also noted the collateral consequences of Enriquez's sentence, including having to register as a sex offender, which will limit his future employment and housing opportunities after his eventual release from prison.
Ford called Enriquez's crimes a "heinous offense" and a gross violation of the trust the victim had placed in him.
He said the crimes warranted a severe punishment and the 15- to 18-year sentence he imposed would reflect that.
Green asked Ford to entertain a motion to have the imposition of Enriquez's sentence stayed pending the filing of an appeal. Ford denied that motion.
Enriquez, clad in an orange jumpsuit, with his hands and feet in shackles, showed little reaction as the sentence was imposed and as he was escorted out of the courtroom.
He will serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served the first 15 years.
Bob Dunn can be reached at email@example.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
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