The teenage victim of a rape that was live-streamed on Periscope forgave the rapist at his sentencing hearing Wednesday, but said he needs to go to prison.
"Despite the fact that I can forgive, I believe you need to be punished for raping me," said the woman, who was 17 at the time of the Feb. 27 assault at a Northeast Side apartment.
Raymond B. Gates, 29, pleaded guilty to one count of rape and was sentenced to nine years in prison. He stared straight ahead as the victim read her comments, then declined to make a statement of his own.
The sentence, imposed by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Kim Brown, was recommended by prosecuting and defense attorneys as part of a plea agreement in which several other counts were dismissed. After his release from prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender every 90 days for the rest of his life.
A co-defendant, Marina A. Lonina, 18, is accused of live-streaming the rape with her cellphone using the Periscope app. She has a Dec. 12 court date on charges of rape, sexual battery, kidnapping and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a juvenile.
Lonina and the victim were friends who met Gates at Easton Town Center and went to his residence on Christina Lane on Feb. 26, Assistant Prosecutor Nadia Haque told the judge. The two went back to Gates' apartment the following day and drank alcohol until the victim became "extremely intoxicated," she said.
According to Haque, Gates forced vaginal intercourse on the teen, despite her pleas for him to stop, while Lonina live-streamed the assault. She said the girl can be heard screaming, "No. It hurts so much," and, "Please stop," multiple times on the broadcast.
Columbus police began an investigation after receiving a copy of the broadcast from someone who viewed it live in another state.
The victim, now 18, said that "everything radically changed" about her life after the rape.
"I have tremendous difficulties trusting those even closest to me," she said. "I feel like being raped has taken away my ability to love life and love as fully as I once did."
She concluded her statement by placing some of the blame on Gates' co-defendant.
"I believe Ray fell into (Lanina’s) manipulation," she said. "However, his actions should not and cannot be excused. He made the choice to rape me, but she created the situation."
The Dispatch does not identify victims of sexual assault without their consent.