Judges Sentence Defendant to Two Consecutive Life Sentences in 2 Sexual Abuse Cases 

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Two DC Superior Court judges sentenced a defendant to two life sentences without the possibility of release for two separate sexual abuse cases. 

A jury found Ronald Berton guilty of kidnapping and first-degree sexual abuse for a 2016 case in which he broke into the victim’s apartment and sexually abused her in 2007. According to prosecutors, he stole the victim’s phone to prevent her from calling for help, and took her ID. The other case Berton was convicted of assault with intent to commit first-degree sex abuse. 

On March 17, two victims gave impact statements in front of the court with one of them having an advocate deliver it. 

The first victim stated in her letter that she has to live with the aftermath of this attack for the rest of her life, and has dealt with severe isolation and shame. She went on to say that “rape collapses you; it is a unique type of terror.” 

In her letter, she explained that when she was brought into court to testify in front of the jury, she felt like she was the one who was on trial. 

“Victim blaming is pervasive in the courtroom,” she said. 

The second victim told the court that he had ruined her ability to feel safe anywhere she went. 

She told the court that she has spent hundreds of nights hiding in her apartment, and has struggled with depression and anxiety following the attack. 

“There cannot be peace until there’s accountability,” she said. 

During their statements, in front of both judges, the prosecution said the defendant’s risk of recidivism is extremely high, and that he would remain a danger to society if he was ever released. 

“If there is anyone deserving of a life sentence without release, it is this defendant,” the prosecutor  said. 

Defense attorney Thomas Healy told the judges that the defendant believes no one should be treated the way the women were treated, but Berton maintains his innocence. When discussing the sentencing, he said “everyone is rehabilitable,” and he should not have to serve a life sentence. 

Judge Juliet McKenna sentenced Berton to 120 months or 10 years for kidnapping, and a life sentence without possibility of release for the first-degree sexual abuse charge. 

Judge Marisa Demeo sentenced him to 108 months or nine years for each count of first-degree burglary, attempted first-degree sexual abuse, and kidnapping, 72 months or six years for assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse, and a life sentence without the possibility of release for first-degree of sexual abuse.

The sentences imposed by both judges are to be served consecutively. 

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