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Rapist sentenced to 8 years for attacks

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A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for a series of rapes he swears never occurred.

Richard Rondeau, 28, continues to maintain his innocence after being found guilty of numerous charges earlier this year including sexual assault, forcible confinement and uttering death threats. He claims sex with the 17-year-old girl was consensual.

Rondeau returned to court today, seeking a penalty of just five years behind bars. But Queen’s Bench Justice Gerald Chartier said much more severe sanctions are needed for such a prolonged and violent attack.

During the trial, jurors heard how the victim was walking down a West Kildonan street when she was grabbed from behind, choked and dragged to a nearby back alley and then sexually assaulted. She was then taken to several other locations over the next two hours and sexually assaulted on three more occasions.

At some point during the attacks, the teen managed to place a number of 911 calls for help. Jurors heard the audio, which the Crown described as "heart-wrenching" and showed a girl in "dire need" of help.

Rondeau had claimed the girl fabricated her story, fearing reprisal from her boyfriend, a friend of Rondeau's described as a violent member of the Native Syndicate gang still behind bars.

Crown attorney Daniel Chaput had argued the defence claim made no sense, arguing if the girl wanted to keep an affair quiet, she could simply remain silent. Chaput noted that Rondeau repeatedly lied to police when they questioned him after his arrest, first denying he had sex with the girl, then saying it was consensual.

Jurors clearly rejected Rondeau’s version of events in finding him guilty as charged.

Rondeau has a previous criminal history and had only been released from jail a few weeks before this incident. He was still on parole for an impaired driving related conviction, court was told.

A pre-sentence report paints him as a moderate to high-risk to re-offend, which Chartier said today also factors into his sentence.

Rondeau was given credit for 31 months of pre-trial custody, leaving him with nearly six years left of his sentence to serve. He has also been ordered to provide a DNA sample to the national databank and will be placed on the federal sex offender registry.

www.mikeoncrime.comBy Mike McIntyre

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