An obscure news paper article

Will the Seventh Day Adventist's Church have to pay reparations?

Ex-deacon gets 33 years for Chesterfield rape

A young woman who was raped at gunpoint last year by a local church official benevolently forgave her attacker yesterday shortly before he was sentenced to 33 years in prison.

But Oscar A. Rivera-Licona, 35, rebuffed his victim's offer of absolution. Instead, the former head deacon of the Richmond Evangelistic Center of Seventh-day Adventist questioned the veracity of the woman he raped despite DNA evidence linking him to the crime.

"Is it possible that someone could accuse another person of a crime and be lying about it?" the unapologetic defendant asked Judge Ernest P. Gates Jr. of Chesterfield County Circuit Court through an interpreter.

The surprised judge reminded the Honduras native that he had pleaded no contest in August to abducting, raping and using a gun in attacking the young woman in the Chesterfield Village Apartments, where she lived.

Gates then sentenced Rivera-Licona to 73 years in prison with 40 years suspended. State sentencing guidelines called for a maximum prison term of 21 years and seven months. Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney M. Duncan Minton Jr. had asked for a life sentence.

In sentencing Rivera-Licona above state guidelines, Gates said there was "no significance in his mind that what he did was wrong."

Rivera-Licona has a wife and child in Honduras and had worked as a laborer since arriving here more than five years ago. As head deacon of the Richmond Evangelistic Center on Walmsley Boulevard, he worked closely with the church's pastor.

In May, Rosa Olivera, the wife of pastor Luis Linan-Olivera, publicly defended their deacon, saying authorities had made a terrible mistake.

"We strongly believe that there is another person" responsible for the crimes, she said then. Neither she nor her husband could be reached for comment yesterday.

Chesterfield authorities charged Rivera-Licona in the spring after a Richmond prostitute identified him as the man who attempted to rape and rob her March 24 while she was working in the 2200 block of Ingram Avenue in the city. Richmond police charged him with that offense in early April, but prosecutors withdrew the charges a month later after the victim failed to appear at a preliminary hearing.

Since then, Richmond prosecutor Cynthia Mikland said, she has located the victim and is talking with her about reinstating the charges.

Rivera-Licona remains a suspect in the Feb. 13 attempted abduction of a 17-year-old Chesterfield girl who was accosted at gunpoint while walking to a school bus stop in the same neighborhood where the rape occurred, Minton said.

The victim in yesterday's case was attacked Nov. 14 about 11:15 p.m. on Belasco Drive, not far from where the student was accosted. The Richmond Times-Dispatch generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.

The woman had just returned to the complex after picking up her roommate but stayed behind in the car to pray about a Christian-outreach program that she would staff the next day. "She was praying that everything would go well," Minton said.

Rivera-Licona rushed her moments after she stepped out of the car, forcing her to an area near a tree line. He brandished a gun that police later determined was a plastic toy.

The woman offered him money and even dropped her wallet. After she was pushed down near a tree, the victim quickly realized his intent was to rape her. He said he wouldn't kill her if she stayed quiet.

"She told him, 'God will forgive you, Jesus will forgive you, I'll forgive you,'" Minton said.

The woman heard Rivera-Licona run away after the attack and, when she felt it was safe, turned and saw him disappear around a corner. She raced back to her apartment, banging on the back door.

From the witness stand yesterday, the victim glanced at her attacker as she read a statement about how the rape left her feeling broken, fearful and enraged. But she also recalled the sense of joy she felt at still being alive as a hospital nurse examined her after the assault.

"I just kept hugging myself," she said. "I just kept smiling because I was alive and safe. I had survived!"

"That's all I could think about," she added. "That my family and friends had the luxury of not finding my dead body with unbuttoned pants on the side of my apartment building."

It is refreshing to see the forgivness of the victim.

In Virginia, a rapist is a rapist, not a celebrity.

Dieu Le Roy.


Elisa said...

Clerical abuse in Protestant churches really needs to be as widely covered as it was in the catholic church.

Brantigny said...

But it won't be. The sad fact is this fellow was probably a convert to this 7th day heresy. If he has stayed catholic I guarantee yo he would have been on CNN

Anonymous said...

Wow its kinda weird to see my story on someones random blog page.. He was a deacon in the church but he didnt believe anything it stood for in anyway, it was just a cover. I wasnt the only person he raped, but yea if he had been catholic it prolly would have made national news. I wasnt a parishoner so is what he did really clerical abuse hes just a rapist who happened to be a deacon at a church. Thanks for the shot out

Brantigny said...

That is the point, a rapist is a rapist.

This is the most unusual response I have ever gotten.

This blog is read in about 30 countries so it is not that obscure especially on monarchist circles.