A woman who was the victim of an attempted rape still has a scar on her face from the attack. Every time she looks in a mirror, she is reminded of it, Justice Charles Quin was told in a recent sentencing hearing.
The impact on the victim was just one factor he took into account before sentencing Josh Alexander Bodden to 12 years’ imprisonment. Bodden had pleaded not guilty and elected to be tried by judge alone. He said that what had happened between him and the woman was consensual.
Justice Quin accepted the woman’s evidence that she had been walking her dogs in the early hours of the morning when she was joined by Bodden. She recognized him as being related to someone who was a good friend, so she was not alarmed.
She said Bodden suggested that the dogs would enjoy going into the water, so they went down to the beach. While they were talking he was perfectly decent, but then went “ice cold,” she said. He struck her in the face, causing swelling and bleeding.
He tried to have sex with her against her will; when he did not succeed, he forced her to perform sexual acts. When she tried to escape, he stopped her and said if she tried again he would kill her.
Only when it started getting light did he decide to leave. He told her, “If you say anything, I know where you live. I will come for you.”
The woman went home and told her husband what had happened and police were called.
The husband also gave a statement. He said his wife has been a changed person since the incident. “It has impacted our lives and our marriage,” he told the interviewer. “I feel helpless. It hurts me to know she is hurting ….”
The probation officer who wrote the victim impact report said the attempted rape had impacted the woman significantly, both emotionally and psychologically. Having to go through the trial had made it worse.
Justice Quin said the offending was sustained, and included both threats and violence. The attempted rape was virtually indistinguishable from the full offense, he said.
The maximum sentence for attempted rape in Cayman is 14 years and the starting point is typically eight years, he noted. Because of the gratuitous violence, he raised that to 10 years. But Bodden had previous convictions for violence and was on bail at the time of this offense. These aggravating factors raised the sentence to 12 years.
The defendant had previously received prison sentences, community service orders and fines, but nothing had deterred him, the judge noted.
Defense attorney Jonathon Hughes had said he could not disagree that the woman suffered humiliation and degradation, “but that was part and parcel of this type of case.” As to apparent lack of remorse, Mr. Hughes said Bodden “may be starting to come to terms with what has taken place” and had written a letter of apology.
Senior Crown counsel Nicole Petit, who conducted the prosecution’s case, provided sentencing precedents.
In addition to 12 years for attempted rape, Justice Quin imposed concurrent sentences of two and a half years for actual bodily harm and four years for each of the indecent assaults.
He commented that the Legislative Assembly might wish to raise the 14-year maximum to life imprisonment. That maximum would correspond to the law in the U.K., he noted.