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Hernando victim's mercy spares abusive ex-boyfriend

BROOKSVILLE — A 22-year-old Brooksville man facing decades in prison on charges that he raped and kidnapped his ex-girlfriend managed to escape the worst at the request of an unusual savior.

The victim.

Christian Riverachico took a plea deal Friday that reduced the severity of the charges and resulted in two years of prison time.

Assistant State Attorney Lisa Herndon said the agreement was negotiated at the behest of the victim, who did not want her former boyfriend severely punished.

It's an odd request, she acknowledged, considering how he treated her.

Riverachico and the victim, who was not identified, dated while living in Chelsea, Mass. He beat her badly, sending her to the hospital one time, Herndon said.

In October 2006, the victim took out a protective injunction against him and fled to Florida, where she had family.

But he soon followed her and violated the injunction twice in a 10-day span in March 2007, court records show.

Riverachico pleaded no contest to one of those charges and received one year of probation and credit for the 27 days he spent in jail.

He was free and once again ignored orders to stay away from the victim.

Within hours of being released from jail, he went to her house and broke in through a window that had been propped open with an air conditioning unit, according to reports.

Herndon said that, luckily, the victim wasn't home; she learned Riverachico was being released and went to a neighbor's house.

But the next morning when she went back home to get her daughter's backpack, Riverachico was hiding inside.

He raped her and held her for about an hour, Herndon said, before the neighbors came to check on her.

They managed to get Riverachico away, and they called the Sheriff's Office.

In court, Riverachico didn't flinch as the prosecutor read this account aloud.

He did not contest charges of felony burglary and kidnapping, which carry a sentence up to life in prison.

Prosecutors reduced the rape charge to misdemeanor battery and dismissed two other lesser charges.

In the end, Circuit Judge Stephen Rushing found Riverachico guilty and sentenced him to two years in state prison and 10 years of probation. But Riverachico will get out in about a year because he has already served 351 days in the county jail while awaiting trial.

He told the court, through a translator, that he plans to move to Puerto Rico when he is released.

The judge ended the hearing with a stern order not to ever make contact with the victim again.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Hernando victim's mercy spares abusive ex-boyfriend 04/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 12:23pm]
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