AUBURN — An Ashley man was sentenced to five years in prison Monday for raping a woman while she was sleeping.
Carlos L. Cruz, 25, of the 100 block of South Gonser Avenue, pleaded guilty to rape, a Level 3 felony, as part of a plea agreement filed in DeKalb Superior Court II.
Judge Monte Brown sentenced Cruz to nine years in prison, with five years to serve and four years suspended. Cruz was placed on probation for four years and was found to be a sexually violent predator.
The plea agreement called for a cap on the total sentence of 10 years and a six-year cap on any executed portion of the sentence.
Brown ordered that Cruz be taken into custody immediately following Monday’s sentencing hearing.
Cruz was accused of sexual conduct with a woman while the victim was unaware, according to court documents.
In a police affidavit of probable cause, Indiana State Police Detective David Poe said a woman sought treatment at Parkview DeKalb Hospital on Nov. 1, 2020. She said she had been sexually assaulted.
In an interview at the Auburn Police Department, the woman said she had been out celebrating Halloween with three other people, ending at a bar in Auburn. While at the bar, they ran into Cruz. The woman said she knows Cruz but is not friends with him. He is friends with another person in the group, the woman told Poe.
Near closing time, the five of them left the bar and went to a group member’s house on C.R. 18. They hung out for a while, and the woman decided to go to bed at about 4-5 a.m., the affidavit said.
The woman told police that at some point while she was sleeping, she was awoken by Cruz engaging in sexual conduct with her. A short time after she woke, he stopped, she said.
The woman said she was unable to speak or move while he was assaulting her because she was in shock, according to the affidavit.
Once the assault ended, Cruz got up and was either in another part of the room or an attached bathroom when he started crying, the woman told police.
Cruz told the woman that he did not know why he “did that” and that she did not deserve it, the affidavit said.
The woman admitted she had consumed alcohol, but said she could remember what happened.
On Nov. 2, 2020, Poe said he spoke with a friend of Cruz who had exchanged texts and messages with Cruz.
In the messages, Cruz admitted raping the woman.
During a police interview, Cruz started off by saying that he made the worst decision that he ever could make, the affidavit said. He told police he suffers from alcoholism and was “plastered” that night. He admitted engaging in sexual conduct with the woman and that she never asked him to, according to the affidavit.
During Monday’s hearing, the court heard testimony from psychologist Dr. Stephen Ross who conducted a psycho-sexual evaluation of Cruz.
Ross said Cruz was found to have a substance abuse disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Ross described Cruz as impulsive and adventurous, but not aggressive. He agreed that these traits could be exacerbated by the use of alcohol.
Several of Cruz’s family members also testified on his behalf, saying they were shocked and surprised by his actions that led to the charge.
“I just never imagined he could do something like that,” one relative stated.
“It was surprising for me to see this happen,” said another.
Another family member said Cruz takes responsibility for his actions and is remorseful.
Cruz’s attorney, Stephanie Hamilton, echoed those sentiments, saying Cruz has taken responsibility for what he did and is extremely remorseful.
She said Cruz went on his own accord to get a psycho-sexual evaluation, continued with his employment and ceased using alcohol.
Hamilton said Cruz’s use of alcohol is not an excuse for what happened but was a factor that contributed to his actions.
Cruz apologized to the victim, who was attending Monday’s hearing via video conference.
“I’m deeply sorry,” he said.
“I won’t ask for forgiveness. I don’t deserve that.”
DeKalb County Prosecutor Neal Blythe read a statement from the victim, in which she stated the night she was raped was the first time she every questioned how strong she was.
Immediately after the incident, she said, she did not know how to cope and turned to alcohol and began harming herself.
She said her life spiraled out of control and that she had attempted to take her own life.
“The mental and physical scars will be with me the rest of my life,” Blythe read.
“The harm caused to the victim screams out from her statement,” Blythe told the court.
“I think that has to be an aggravating factor.”
Brown noted the sadness in the case experienced by many people, including the victim, her family and Cruz’s family.
“The victim’s statement was poignant, to say the least,” Brown said.
“What you did scarred her for the rest of her life.”
“For (the victim), perhaps the only thing I can do is impose an appropriate sentence that lets her know we value what she said in her victim’s statement,” Brown added.