PORT OF SPAIN –– A Siparia man was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years for raping a schoolgirl in 1997 but his victim left the court disappointed. The victim, now 34 years old and a mother of three children, said she felt her attacker, David Baptiste, deserved a longer jail sentence and strokes for the pain he put her through.
She spoke with reporters shortly after Baptiste, 43, was sentenced by San Fernando Second Assizes Judge Hayden St Clair-Douglas.
“I feel that he could have gotten more than 22 years and he should have gotten strokes. Not just for me but for the other girl [the 2000 victim]. He did more to her and worse than I got.” She said the other woman also left the court disappointed.
Saying she would not wish what she went through on anyone, she said men who raped should feel the full penalty. “To deal with this was really hard for me. I don’t talk about it with anybody.” She said she lives for her children, one of whom is a girl. “I am always there for her,” she added.
Baptiste was charged with raping two other women but he absconded while on bail to the United States for eight years, resulting in the collapse of those cases.
He was returned by United States Marshals to face trial here for the 1997 rape of the schoolgirl. Baptiste had pleaded not guilty when the trial began before St Clair-Douglas on March 1.
In passing sentence the judge said Baptiste showed no remorse and women needed to be protected from him. Saying there were no mitigating factors, the judge said his sentence had to be on the higher scale of sentencing.
He said the maximum sentence was life imprisonment and it ranges from about 25 years. The judge said the aggravating factors were the girl’s age, she was dressed in her school uniform, she was a virgin and he offered to give the girl a drop home.
The jury heard that in June 1997 the victim, then 15 years old, was walking home after school along Quinam Road, Siparia, when the accused picked her up in his car and offered to drop her home. Instead he took her to a dirt road where he raped her.
During the trial as part of the bad character evidence, State attorney Trevor Jones called one of Baptiste’s other rape victims who recalled how she was raped and stabbed by Baptiste. That incident took place in 2000.
Baptiste’s defence was that the women had mistaken him for another person with his name.