Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bagel shop attacker sentenced to 27 3/4 years in prison

A man who molested a 19 year old woman outside a bagel shop and exposed himself to 3 other victims was sentenced to 27 3/4 years behind bars in a New Jersey courtroom Monday, December 14. Andrew Pena, a 42 year old carpenter, attacked the woman in the parking lot of G&A bagels on January 28, 2007. Pena was convicted in 1 hour 15 minutes of aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, criminal restraint and burglary by a jury on August 10, 2009.

The assault occurred at about 3:15 a.m. when the woman waited inside a car parked near the bagel shop as her friends went inside. A man sweeping outside told the woman she couldn’t park there and directed her to the back of the building, where the attack occurred.

The prosecution noted during its case that the victim had picked Pena out of a lineup. It also said a fingerprint from her vehicle was a match to Pena and that a footprint matched his shoe. Pena also had told police he was at the scene and told the woman to move the car, but claimed he had nothing to do with the attack. Rather, he said, police wrongly charged him and never investigated others.

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez, who argued for consecutive sentencing on all five counts, said the Butler attack was an escalation, as Pena had been convicted in Wayne in 2002 and Paramus in 2003 of lewdness for exposing his genitals to two different women in store parking lots.

The victim, in her impact statement told how the attack left her scared, scarred, and unable to drive either alone or at night. "I fear for my life that when the defendant gets out of jail he will find me and seek revenge."

Besides the prison term, Pena will have to pay $3380 in fines and penalties, and will be evaluated at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center to see if he can be treated there.

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