Balboa Park rapist sentenced to 55 years to life
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 10/20/17 - 11:59 AM | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A convicted rapist who sexually assaulted a woman in Balboa Park was sentenced Friday to 55 years to life in prison.

The victim told San Diego Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian how the May 5, 2016 attack continues to affect her with panic attacks, insomnia, and depression.

Ismael Hernandez Jr., 28, of Chula Vista, said nothing before Hanoian imposed a third strike sentence as Hernandez has been convicted of robbery previously along with other charges in this case.

Hernandez pleaded guilty June 19 to rape during a kidnapping, and forcible oral copulation at knifepoint that occurred in bushes in the park in an isolated area while it was raining.

Charges of attempted kidnapping involving another victim near the park were dismissed along with other counts of rape with a foreign object and sexual battery involving the first victim.

“This was the worst year of my life. I’m paranoid it could happen again,” said the woman. “I’m isolated, exhausted, depressed and occasionally suicidal.”

“I will never be the same. I struggle every day,” said the woman. “I’m so sleep deprived. I sob so uncontrollably. I experience flashbacks on a regular basis.”

“Ismael Hernandez Jr., I am not just a rape victim. I refuse to let you have the rest of me,” said the woman. “Your disgusting acts do not define me. I am (first name), I am a warrior.”

The victim’s sister told Hernandez “I believe what you put out comes back to you.” Both the victim and her sister likened the attack to someone throwing a rock in a lake, causing a ripple effect upon others.

The judge told Hernandez had he been convicted at trial, he would have faced a sentence of 500 years to life if he was sentenced consecutively.

Hanoian imposed 25 years to life for the rape, which was doubled because of the prior conviction plus five years consecutively due to the prior. He received a 65-year concurrent sentence.

He was ordered to register as a sex offender after he is paroled, though he must serve 85 percent of his term before he can be released. He was given credit for already serving 610 days in jail and fined $10,564.

“Today brought closure to the victim. The victim got to express everything she wanted to say,” said Deputy District Attorney Judy Taschner. “It was a well thought-out impact statement.”

A restitution hearing was set for Dec. 1 to see if he should pay for damages to the victim. Hernandez’s attorney, Sarah Shekhter, submitted any comments to the judge in legal papers and did not say anything in court. Hernandez was told of the likely sentence when he pleaded guilty.
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