A homeless woman who was raped a year ago in Ohio says she sometimes walked up to eight miles to attend her attacker’s court hearings, reports The Columbus Dispatch. At other times, she begged for bus money to make the trip from Whitehall, Ohio, to the Franklin County courthouse where the trial was held.
Paul E. Hubert, 54, who pleaded guilty to rape before the trial was sentenced to three years in prison on Feb. 10. "He was counting on her not showing up," Columbus police detective James Ashenhurst told The Associated Press. "If it wasn't for her cooperation, he would have walked."
According to the AP, the 47-year-old victim attended about six court hearings in the case. She sometimes got bus passes from prosecutors or begged for bus fare. But twice, she traveled to the courthouse on foot, which took her about three hours, she said.
The woman, who was not named by media outlets that typically don’t identify victims of sexual assault, was sleeping under a bridge when she was raped on March 12 last year. She awoke to a stranger attacking her, who struck her on the head and forced intercourse, she said in court. After the rape, she walked to a convenience store where a clerk called the police.
When she was asked in court by the judge whether she wanted to make an additional statement in court, she reportedly shook her head, and became emotional when the sentence was announced.
A plea agreement between the prosecution and Hubert’s attorneys resulted in the three-year prison sentence, plus the requirement of Hubert registering as a sex offender every 90 days for the rest of his life.
“He didn’t get as much time as I thought he should, but he’s getting his due justice,” the woman told the Dispatch, after the sentencing. “He has to report for the rest of his life I just have to have these feelings for the rest of my life. I only have to report to myself."