Saturday, July 11, 2009

Philly date-rapist sentenced to 10 to 20 years, gets 15 to life in Idaho case


This is yet another post which highlights the dangers of sexual predators on the Web, even though they may appear to be nice, charming, and suitable. Not all predators target underage victims or strangers, and all women are potential victims.
The below story, is taken from the Philadelphia Enquirer in its entirety. (10-13-07)

Marsalis gets 10 to 20 years in date-rape cases
By Dwight Ott

Inquirer Staff Writer

Before a courtroom filled with women who had accused of him of plying them with drink and deceit, and then raping them, Jeffrey Marsalis was sentenced yesterday to the maximum, and given a lifetime label intended to warn potential victims.
Common Pleas Court Judge Steven R. Geroff sentenced Marsalis, 34, to 10 to 20 years in prison, and added that once released from prison, he would have to report under Megan's Law to let others know the threat that he poses.

"I believe you are a menace to the women who you meet on the Internet or in any manner - even at a long distance," Geroff said. "What you were was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Your lifestyle was a fantasy, but what happened to your victims was reality."

Wearing a buzz cut and displaying blue eyes that swept the room, Marsalis pleaded no contest during yesterday's hearing to an unlawful imprisonment charge that merited him an additional 10 to 12 months in jail.

Nearly a dozen women sat in three rows, one of them in a wheelchair, clutching tissues and watching the proceedings with red-eyed attention. They smiled for the first time on hearing the judge's ruling.

"Thank God," said one.

Marsalis - who had been charged with assaulting seven women between 2003 to 2005 - was convicted in June of sexually assaulting two women. The trial lasted three weeks and was filled with accounts of his using the Web dating site to pose as an astronaut, a doctor, and even a secret agent to lure women.

Before the sentencing, psychologist Barry Zakireh testified that Marsalis met the criteria of a sexual offender and qualified for restrictions imposed by Megan's Law, including leafleting neighborhoods and posting alerts on the Internet.

Kevin E. Hexstall, a lawyer for Marsalis, said of the Megan's Law decision: "I believe it is punitive because it does not allow my client a subsequent review. . . . It doesn't allow for reevaluation."

Marsalis was convicted of sexual assault, not rape, Hexstall said. Under the law, rape involves force, and sexual assault involves a classification where force does not have to be proven.

"I think the commonwealth has fallen short of its burden of proof," Hexstall said.

Zakireh testified that in some cases, Marsalis wore surgical scrubs and carried medical books as part of his ruse.

But Hexstall argued that since Marsalis had been a nursing student at the Hahnemann nursing school, that was to be expected.

Hexstall felt his client was guilty of nothing more than masquerading while his intoxicated clients agreed to consensual sex.
(Note - there is no such thing as consensual sex when the woman is drunk, sleeping, or drugged. All sex when intoxicated is considered to be assaultive.)

One woman, a dietitian, testified that she met Marsalis on

They agreed to meet in person in central Philadelphia. He told her he was a doctor and a former flight surgeon, and flashed a badge to spirit them to the head of the line outside bars.

But the woman said that after a drink or two, her vision blurred, she began to feel woozy, she developed a pounding headache, and she became so uncoordinated that she tripped and fell.

She said she hung on to Marsalis, who assured her he was an emergency-room doctor and knew what to do. She said that despite her protestations, she was raped, but did not remember the incident until the next day.

Marsalis still faces sexual-assault charges in Idaho.

This is the textbook definition of a psychopath - one who cares only for his own sexual pleasure and perversion. This "man" should not be spending 10 to 20 years, but 30 to 60 years in prison. In Pennsylvania, the legal difference between sexual assault and rape is use of force in rape vs. lack of force in sexual assault, but the victims called it what it is - rape. Sexual predation occurs with frightening regularity, and just like those who prey on children, not all of them fit the stereotypical mold.

Philly Daily News Coverage of Marsalis Sentencing
(Update 10-19-07)
Marsalis will be extradited to Blaine County, Idaho, where he faces charges of raping a 21-year old Sun Valley woman back in 2005. Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas expect Marsalis to be brought back to Idaho around the 1st of the year, with a trial scheduled for the spring. Marsalis waived extradition as a Blaine County bond condition.
(Update 7-11-09) Ten days ago, Marsalis was sentenced to the maximum term - life imprisonment, for the rape of a 21 year old woman that he met at a Sun Valley, ID ski resort where they were both employed. Marsalis was found guilty in April by a jury of 10 women and 2 men of plying the 21 year old victim with alcohol, then raping her when she was too drunk to refuse.
The sentencing, like the trial and conviction, took place at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, ID. The judge who presided over the trial, Judge Daniel Hurlbutt Jr., said that he took into consideration the Pennsylvania rape victims before handing the life sentence down.
Hurlbutt stated, "It is clear the victim was harmed by your actions. This was a manner of grooming the victim. Without question, you did take off your clothes and you did have sexual intercourse with her."
Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas stated that Marsalis was not a typical date rapist, and that Marsalis used the same grooming tactics against the Idaho victim as he did against the Philadelphia victims.
"If the old adage is true- where there's smoke, there's fire, then Mr. Marsalis is an inferno."
The victim impact statement reads as follows.
"I have no doubt that if he wasn't in jail he would be victimizing other women. He took advantage of my body while I was unconscious. I don't need to know what he did to me to know that what he did was wrong....It continues to affect my life today. I had no idea what a monster he would turn out to be. I hope that he will be put away for so long that he will never be able to hurt another woman."
Marsalis will be parole eligible in 15 years.

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