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Convicted Fair Lawn rapist gets 6½ years, insists he’s innocent

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

ONLY ON CVP: A Fair Lawn man convicted of sodomizing his live-in girlfriend with the steel toe of a construction boot must spend at least the next 6½ years in prison before he’s eligible for parole.

George R. Sanchez, 55, was sentenced to ten years but got credit for the past two that he spent behind bars awaiting his trial and sentencing. He must serve 85% of the remainder of his time before he’s eligible for release — six years and eight months in all.

He will then be on parole supervision for three years, under Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian’s sentence.

“He thought she was cheating on her, and that’s why he did it,” Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Demetra Maurice told Jerejian during Friday’s sentencing hearing.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Demetra Maurice (STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter)

“He said ‘You want to act like a whore, I’ll treat you like a whore.’ And he handcuffed her and terrorized her,” Maurice said.

Although convicted, Sanchez continued fighting until the end — coming to court with a sheaf of papers and claiming that forcing him to into a trial with an attorney he didn’t want was a violation of his Sixth Amendment rights.

What was supposed to be an October sentencing was postponed by his failed bid to remove defense attorney Benjamin Morton.

Morton remained unflappable throughout, telling the judge on Friday that his client has “maintained his innocence throughout.”

“We may have had our differences,” he said, “but on that point we stand united, your honor…. There was no physical evidence. There was no demonstrative evidence, and no direct evidence.

“We ask that he be acquitted on the additional charges due to insufficient evidence.”

Jerejian denied the request.

Jurors convicted Sanchez last July of six of 13 counts for an incident that authorities said began when his live-in lover received a text message from a former boyfriend.

Sanchez was acquitted of the most serious charges — aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping — while being found guilty of two counts of sexual assault after the victim testified that she was tied up, beaten, sodomized, and stabbed with a fork.

Defense attorney Benjamin Morton, George Sanchez (STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter)

Jerejian ruled that all of the legal issues Sanchez presented on Friday were disposed of during the trial. He also noted that Sanchez had an opportunity to change attorneys before his trial but didn’t.

Had he been convicted of the most serious charges against him, the judge said, he “could easily have faced life in prison.” But Morton “defended you vigorously,” Jerejian told Sanchez.

Morton, in addition, noted that Sanchez formally withdrew a Superior Court District Ethics Committee grievance he’d filed against him in late July.

Among the issues Sanchez brought before the judge on Friday were what he claimed was a lack of DNA or other physical evidence, failure of the victim to request or receive a rape examination at the hospital and denial of his request to subpoena the treating doctor.

The judge said there was evidence. It was up to jurors, he added, “to decide the credibility of what she said.”

“DNA is not required,” Jerejian said. “Her statements were evidence.”

STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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