Saturday, November 25, 2017
News Roundup

Man, 20, sentenced in Fivay High School rape

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NEW PORT RICHEY — At Justin Kulik's sentencing, the prosecutor asked the convicted rapist if he believed he committed a crime.

Kulik, 20, said no.

The rape happened at Fivay High School on Nov. 16, 2010. Kulik was 17 when he texted his ex-girlfriend, saying he was upset and wanted to meet. He "jokingly pulled me into the bathroom," the girl testified. They had sex for eight minutes, and he left her there.

Later, she went to police. Kulik denied the encounter. During his trial, his attorney said the act was consensual. A jury disagreed, and he was convicted of sexual battery on Sept. 6. On Friday, Kulik learned his fate. There were a few options, but the maximum penalty he faced was 15 years.

Circuit Judge Mary Handsel asked the victim's mother what she thought would be an appropriate sentence. Hold on, the mom said. She walked back to the victim, whispered to her, and walked back.

"Some (prison) time," the mother said. "But mostly help."

A psychologist testified that Kulik didn't have a good grasp on his emotions and had trouble admitting when he was depressed or experienced anxiety.

After some prodding from his attorney, Kulik apologized to the victim for "degrading" her.

Handsel called Kulik arrogant, and she said he lacked empathy. She sentenced him to three years in prison, to be followed by three years of sex offender probation. He will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.

"You should care that you raped a little girl in a boy's bathroom, in her high school — a place that she should be safe and sound," Handsel said. "And you don't get it. You don't get that what you did was wrong."

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