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Suspected kidnapper made Boston woman pose for selfies, read from Bible, officials say

The woman was found alive on Jan. 21 in Victor Peña's apartment, three days after she went missing.
Image: 24pena
Victor Pena appears at the Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court on Jan. 23, 2019.Aram Boghosian / The Boston Globe via AP file

A man suspected of kidnapping a Boston woman who vanished after leaving a nightclub forced her to drink alcohol, pose for photos and read from the Bible in Spanish during the three days she was held captive in his apartment, prosecutors said.

Victor Peña, 38, was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury last week on one count of kidnapping and 10 counts of aggravated rape for the January disappearance of a 23-year-old woman after she left Hennessy's, a bar in Boston.

The woman, whom NBC News is not naming because she says she is the victim of sexual assault, was found alive in Peña's Charlestown apartment Jan. 21, three days after she went missing. Peña pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the charges against him.

The woman told detectives that Peña only gave her canned pineapples to eat, made her drink large amounts of whiskey and vodka, told her to pose for selfies and made her read Bible passages, according to court documents obtained by NBC News.

Peña is also accused of repeatedly raping the woman and threatening to kill her if she tried to leave, according to prosecutors.

"She consented to none of the acts and submitted due to fear and his threats," prosecutors said in court documents. "The victim considered ways to escape, including what she might use as a weapon against Peña, but was afraid that any attempt would fail."

Police said surveillance video from the night of the alleged kidnapping shows Peña leading the woman away after she left the bar. Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross said at a news conference in January that it was "obvious from the video surveillance" that the woman did not "willingly" go with Peña.

Peña led her to a subway station and then to a housing development where he lived, police said.

"Let's just say she wasn't in a state, a physical state, to possibly acknowledge going along with Mr. Peña," Gross said.

Authorities determined Peña was involved in the alleged kidnapping after Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police conducted an investigation and found he had been issued a subway card and his description matched the ones seen in the surveillance video. Authorities also learned that Peña had been accused of accosting women at subway stations in the past and had a restraining order against him for alleged violence against women, according to court documents.

William Barabino, Peña's attorney, denied his client kidnapped and sexually assaulted the woman saying outside the courtroom Wednesday that Peña suffers from mental health issues, according to NBC Boston.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said in January that Peña was ordered to undergo a 20-day mental health evaluation. He was later found competent to stand trial.

"He's basically like an 11-year-old, 12-year-old kid," Barabino said. "That's who he is."

Peña is being held without bail pending a hearing next month, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said.

"If a court finds that no conditions of release can reasonably assure the safety of any person or the community, he will be held without bail pending trial," the spokesperson said.