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By SAM ALLEN
Daily News Staff Writer
On Wednesday, Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Trevor N. Stephens sentenced Gabriel Bentley Cassin, 28, to nine years in prison, with four and a half years suspended, for sexual assault in the second degree.
Cassin pleaded guilty to the offense in exchange for the dismissal of charges associated with a burglary and two misdemeanors for criminal trespassing and theft in the third degree. A more serious sexual assault in the first-degree charge also was dropped.
The second-degree sexual assault charge stemmed from an incident that occurred on the night of Jan. 19, 2018.
According the probable cause statement, a maintenance worker in Tongass Towers heard screaming coming from one of the stairwells.
“Upon investigation, (the maintenance worker) saw the defendant on top of (the victim) having sexual intercourse, and that it was (the victim) who was screaming as if in distress,” the probable cause statement reads.
When the maintenance worker saw them, Cassin took off by himself, according to Ketchikan District Attorney Timothy McGillicuddy.
When police arrived at the scene, the victim told them that “she had been drinking ... with the defendant, and that he encouraged her to take shots of alcohol, which led to the point of her losing memory.”
Furthermore, the victim said, “she ‘came-to’ with the defendant on top of her engaging in sexual relations and that she told him repeatedly to stop,” according to the probable cause statement.
Ketchikan Police Department Sgt. Ty Walker observed the victim's demeanor cycle between calm and carefree to anger, to weeping and sobbing and hyperventilating.
In court Wednesday, Cassin said he was drinking with a group of people, some under the age of 18, in the 2400 block of Tongass Avenue.
The group included the victim's boyfriend.
According to the indictment, Cassin was friends with the victim’s boyfriend and had lived at his house for periods of time.
Cassin and the victim left the group together and walked to Tongess Towers, according to court documents.
He said they ended up on the first or second floor under a stairwell engaging in sexual intercourse he thought was consensual.
When contacted by police at a pull tab store next door, Cassin denied having contact with the victim and tried to get rid of evidence on his hands, according to McGillicuddy.
When asked by Public Defender Jay Hochberg why he went into Tongass Towers Cassin said, "I believe it was romantic. I had been hitting on a lot of the girls (that night), being pretty forward in wanting companionship; I knew I was going to jail for a couple months for my trespassing and theft charges."
McGillicuddy asked Cassin, "Did you say to (an acquaintance) that you thought (the victim) was very beautiful, but very young?"
Cassin responded, "I recall other girls saying they weren't 18 and making sure if I was hitting on a girl they were 18, so there were some girls that were too young."
McGillicuddy said Cassin knew the victim since she was around 14 years old.
Hochberg confirmed with Cassin that he had around 20 prior convictions, all alcohol-related.
His previous convictions, all misdemeanors, are for trespassing, theft, damage to property and supplying alcohol to minors, according to court documents.
In his statement to the judge on Wednesday Cassin apologized and then said, "I recognize my alcoholism. I don't blame the alcohol or (the victim) or anybody else for my actions."
Stephens sentenced him to five years of probation but said that with good time and no parole violations, Cassin could serve as little as three years in prison and two, and a half years of probation.
Cassin is required to register as a sex offender for 15 years following release.
Stephens was blunt in his description of Cassin at the sentencing.
"He's antisocial. He just doesn't give a damn about the impact of his conduct on other people," said Stephens. "He can steal from other people; he can go where he's told not to go; he can damage their property; he can engage in harassing behavior; he can furnish alcohol to underage people. That's a concern. I think that at this point his prospects at rehabilitation are poor."