updated 10/26/2006 4:29:56 PM ET 2006-10-26T20:29:56

A man charged with a string of sexual assaults got five consecutive life prison sentences without the chance of parole Thursday for raping an 11-year-old girl three years ago.

Reynaldo E. Rapalo, 35, is accused of raping seven women and girls in 2002 and 2003 in two Miami neighborhoods, but has been tried so far only for the June 2003 attack on the 11-year-old. He was convicted in August on several counts, including sexual battery, molestation and kidnapping.

Prosecutors said he stalked the girl as she came home from school and repeatedly raped her for more than an hour in the apartment she shared with her mother.

Rapalo sat expressionless as the girl, now 14, read a statement in court calling him an “evil person. Even though I have every reason to hate you, I don’t.” She said she will “remember every day of my life” how Rapalo brutalized her.

“He forever stripped her of her childhood,” prosecutor Joshua Weintraub said. “He is evil. He is a sexual predator of the worst type. He liked what he did.”

Rapalo declined to speak in court.

His attorney, Khurrum Wahid, called consecutive life sentences “not justice, but vengeance.” He submitted letters from Rapalo’s family in his native Honduras that “attest to his good character.”

Wahid said he would appeal. He has said police coerced Rapalo’s confession, which officials deny. He also has raised questions about fingerprint and DNA evidence.

Rapalo is accused of being the “Shenandoah Rapist,” who sexually assaulted seven girls and women ages 11 to 79 in Miami’s Little Havana and Shenandoah neighborhoods. He was living in Miami on an expired visa when the attacks occurred.

While awaiting trial, Rapalo used tied-together bed sheets to escape from a Miami-Dade County jail in December. He was the subject of an intense police manhunt and was recaptured Dec. 26. He also faces charges in the escape.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments