BELFAST, Maine — A man who pleaded guilty to raping a woman in November 2011 after he broke into the Belfast home where she was staying alone with her infant child has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Owen B. Allen, 41, of Belfast, had entered the Marsh Road home through a trapdoor in the bathroom floor on Nov. 11, 2011, according to the police affidavit filed by Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham in support of his arrest.
“My home was broken into and I thought for sure my child and I were going to die,” the victim wrote in January in an impact statement to the court. “A strange man broke into my house then beat and raped me. This has changed my life in many ways.”
The victim told police later that she had heard a noise in the bathroom and texted her fiance, who was working out of state, before going to investigate the source of the noise. She was confronted by Allen, whom she did not know, and who attacked her, the affidavit said. Allen hit the 18-year-old mother in the mouth and wrapped duct tape around her head before forcing her to perform oral sex and raping her while still in the bathroom, according to the affidavit.
After Allen left, the victim was afraid he would return and pushed a television set over the trapdoor to keep him out. Investigating officers figured that the attacker had to be someone familiar with the layout of the house in order to use the crawl space underneath it to access the trapdoor in the bathroom floor.
During the course of the investigation, Cunningham learned that the couple rented the home from a man who also owned a local painting company, according to the affidavit. Allen worked for the painting company, also lived on Marsh Road, and was familiar with the house where the victim was living. The next morning, the victim picked his photo from a police lineup.
During a police interview, Allen told Cunningham that he had been “pretty drunk” the night of the rape and couldn’t remember many details. His DNA was found at the scene.
Allen pleaded guilty last December to Class A gross sexual assault, burglary, aggravated criminal trespass and assault. Justice Robert Murray sentenced him on March 1 during a hearing at Waldo County Superior Court. In addition to the 13-year sentence for the charge of gross sexual assault, he will concurrently serve eight years for the burglary charge, four years for the charge of aggravated criminal trespass and one year for assault.
After he is released from prison, he will spend 10 years on supervised release, according to documents filed at court after his sentencing hearing. If Allen does not comply with conditions, which include random searches and testing for alcohol and drugs, sex offender counseling, no contact with the victim or her fiance, and living where his probation officer directs him, he could have his supervised release revoked and face an additional 10 years in prison, according to Waldo County Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker. Allen also must pay a $300 fine.
“As far as cases we see every day — this is a fairly significant sentence,” Walker said Monday. “I hope people don’t look at this and say, ‘He got off with next to nothing.’ That’s definitely not the case.”
In her statement to the court, the victim wrote of her fears that night and the way that the attack has affected her ever since. She said she can’t stay at home by herself anymore and is always uncomfortable around strangers — which wasn’t an issue for her before because she was a “people person.”
“I hate the sight of duct tape,” she wrote. “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 woman said she is in counseling and is “slowly dealing with” the trauma of the experience.
“I was so scared and I am still very scared, but I am thankful I am alive. I have a beautiful little girl that is growing up so fast. I could not imagine what life would be without her,” she wrote. “I thought that he was going to hurt her too that night … that was the worst thing that a man could do to a woman. This is something that no one would even wish upon even the person they hate most in life.”
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.