Belfast man to serve 13 years for raping 18-year-old new mother, home alone
BELFAST — A Belfast man is going to prison for 13 years for the 2011 rape of a Belfast 18-year-old mother, who was home alone with her infant daughter, a cat and a puppy, while her fiancé was out of state for work.
The woman was woken up around 9 p.m., Nov. 11, 2011, after hearing a sound coming from her bathroom. At the time, the family lived on Marsh Road, which is located off Waldo Avenue (Route 173/7), north of downtown Belfast.
According to an affidavit filed by Belfast Police Sgt. Bryan Cunningham, the woman sent a text about the noise to her fiancé in New York, and then she went to investigate the source of the sound.
Entering the bathroom, the woman was confronted by a man. He had broken in through a trap door in the floor of the bathroom, accessible from the outside by a crawlspace under the home, according to the affidavit.
In the bathroom together, the man grabbed the woman, hit her in the mouth, covered her face and then proceeded to wrap duct tape around her head. The man, who would later be identified as 41-year-old Owen Allen, of Belfast, forced the woman to perform oral sex before he raped her.
When he stopped the assault on the bathroom floor, the woman told police the man got on his knees, stood up, kicked her in the back and walked out.
The man left the residence through the front door, and the woman, fearing he might return, pushed a large television and a clothes hamper with a nearly-full case of bottled water inside over the trap door. She called her fiance's grandparents, also living on Marsh Road, who came to the house to ensure the man was gone and she was safe, and then called police.
During the investigation, police determined that Allen was employed by a painting company familiar to the victim's grandfather, and that Allen also lived on Marsh Road. The owner of the painting company was also the owner of the home where the assault occurred, and it was likely Allen knew the layout of the home, including the trapdoor, according to the affidavit.
A photo lineup was created with Allen's picture from a booking photo from December 2006 among others, and the victim identified him as her attacker the following morning.
Allen was questioned by Cunningham the morning after the rape and assault, and he at first denied knowledge and involvement in the crime. Confronted with evidence, including the collection of DNA from the victim and the scene of the crime, Allen eventually reluctantly admitted his involvement, according to the affidavit.
As Allen was being taken into custody at his home, he refused to tell his wife the exact reason he was being arrested. According to the affidavit, Allen told his wife he had done something wrong and now he was going to jail.
"[The wife] asked again why he couldn't just tell her why this was happening. Owen said it's happening because I did something f---ing wrong, a bad thing, a bad thing," said the affidavit.
Allen pleaded guilty in November to one count each of gross sexual assault, burglary, aggravated criminal trespass and assault. He was sentenced in Waldo County Superior Court March 1 to serve 13 years in prison with 10 years of supervised release.
He was fined $300 and his supervised release includes the conditions that he submit to random searches and testing for alcohol and drugs, that he complete treatment and counseling for substance abuse and as a sexual offender and have no contact with the victim, her fiancé or their families and not enter their residences or places of work. He is also directed to live where his probation officer directs him to.
According to Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker, Allen's supervised release is like "probation plus." In most cases, six years is the most probation time a convicted felon is required to serve.
"It allows his probation officer to monitor him more closely and this gives us more time to monitor his progress," said Walker. "And if he fails to abide by it, he risks serving the 10 years of supervised release in prison."
Walker said the sentencing hearing lasted about an hour, and included a victim impact statement.
In her words, the woman said that the attack by Allen changed her life in many ways.
Bad memories of that night caused she and her fiancé to pack up their belongings and move with their child out of their Marsh Road home. She said she was unable to walk into another room without someone with her, and walking around a corner makes her feel panicked.
"I am unable to stay home by myself, because on that day, I was alone at night with my child who was asleep in her crib," wrote the victim. "Now, I always feel uncomfortable around people that I do not know. This was not an issue for me before because I am a people person."
The attack, she said, has affected her younger brother and sister, who now worry about this kind of thing happening again, as well as her five-year relationship with her fiancé.
"I hate the sight of duct tape. It brings me back to that night when he wrapped it around and around my face and made it so hard for me to breathe," the victim wrote.
The victim wrote that she is currently in counseling to help her deal with what happened and the memories that remain.
"Never in a million years did I ever think that anything like this would ever happen to me or even anyone that I know. But now that it has, I am cautious about anyone who I let in my life and around my child. That was the worst thing that a man could do to a woman," she wrote. "This is something that no one would even wish upon even the person they hate most in life."
Editorial Director Holly S. Edwards can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 207-706-6655.