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2 men get jail in lewd photos case

One of the men gets a two-year sentence, and the other gets 1{ years; both express regret.

The charges were only misdemeanors, but for two young men convicted of taking lewd pictures of a woman while she was passed out, they could have meant a dozen years in jail.

After a lengthy hearing Wednesday filled with testimonials and a few tears, County Judge Elvin Martinez sentenced Tony Carastro, 28, to two years in jail and his buddy Jason Rohlfs, 25, to 1{ years. Both men must also serve probation, perform community service and get any treatment recommended by Tampa's domestic violence shelter, the Spring.

The judge, who called what they did to the woman "inexcusable" after they were convicted last week, did not comment on his decision Wednesday.

As the men sat in shackles in the jury box, their friends and family stepped before the judge to say they were good boys who had done a bad thing.

"It was a segment of their lives, maybe 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes," said Rohlfs' attorney, Rick Bisconti.

Carastro, an insurance agent, and Rohlfs, a laborer, apologized to the woman as she sat a few feet away in the courtroom.

"I never conspired to hurt you in any way, shape or form," said Carastro, who had a brief relationship with the woman about a month before the picture-taking session. "I know what I did was morally wrong."

"I will regret this for the rest of my life," said Rohlfs.

But prosecutor Paul Duval Johnson, who argued for a lengthier jail sentence, said remorse came only after the men found themselves in handcuffs. The woman, a 30-year-old computer programmer, recalled on Wednesday that she heard the men "chuckle" as she left the witness stand after emotional testimony last week, and spoke of the pain of hearing Carastro tell the jury she was a willing participant that night.

"This is the worst thing I've ever gone through in my life," said the woman. She made no recommendation for their punishment, saying it should be up to the judge.

The woman was friendly with the two men back in December 1997, when she accepted a ride home with them after a night of drinking.

But she passed out at Carastro's apartment, and the prosecutor argued that she had likely been drugged.

While she lay there, the men undressed her, wrote "Ho" (slang for whore) on her in lipstick, and bent her body for obscene pictures, which Carastro later took to Eckerd. Employees there turned the prints over to police.

Last week, a jury convicted the two men of 12 counts each of misdemeanor battery, one time for each photo showing them touching her without her consent.

Carastro's attorney, Norman Cannella, said it was "an excessive sentence in view of the fact that the event was a single criminal episode, not 12 separate events."

Cannella will argue that legal issue on appeal, and plans to ask the judge to release Carastro on bail pending that appeal.