This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Logan • The woman said she will always hate that day last July, when she was raped at a Utah State University fraternity house.
She was a 19-year-old student who lost her innocence, her compassion, her happiness. On that day, the woman said Tuesday, her attacker, Jason Brian Relopez, told her, "I will win tonight because I am stronger."
And he did win, she said, when he raped and assaulted her multiple times that night. But as she stood in a Logan courtroom Tuesday, the woman said she was the true winner for standing up against her attacker and reporting what had happened to her.
She is not a victim, she said. She's a survivor.
"Today, you are no longer the strong one," the woman said. "I refuse to let you take one more second of my life."
Relopez, 28, pleaded guilty in February to first-degree-felony attempted rape and third-degree-felony forcible sexual abuse, admitting he sexually assaulted two women in the past two years.
He was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail. But a unique plea deal could put him behind bars for longer: If he scores "low" or a "low-moderate" risk in two future psycho-sexual exams, he would be allowed to be released to a halfway house. If he scores as a higher risk or is nonresponsive, Relopez will be sent to prison.
Relopez also was required in court Tuesday to acknowledge that he sexually assaulted the women.
"I admit to having nonconsensual sex with these two individuals," a shackled Relopez said. "My actions are inexcusable and will mark my character for life."
First District Judge Brian Cannell said that if not for the agreed-upon sentence worked out by the attorneys, he would have handed down a prison sentence to the former frat member. He described Relopez's crimes as "repugnant" and "horrible."
"You've admitted that you had nonconsensual sex with these survivors," the judge said. "That means you raped them. And you are responsible for that."
The Tribune generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.
During an August preliminary hearing, the then-19-year-old USU student testified that during a night of drinking at the Sigma Chi fraternity house on July 12, 2015, she and Relopez started making out.
But she became terrified, she testified, when Relopez slapped her across the face and then raped her five to six times throughout that night.
She said she never explicitly told him, "No," but said she did not give consent to the assault. She reported the rape a week later.
On Tuesday, the woman said one of the hardest moments after the rape was when people blamed her for what happened or questioned whether she had been victimized.
"There is no handbook on how to react during a rape," she said. "There is no right way. … We need to start teaching and learning. We need to listen to survivors. We need to believe them."
The other victim, a then-20-year-old USU student, testified in August that she was raped by Relopez in her Cache Valley home as the two were studying together in October 2014.
She said the two began making out. But when Relopez asked her if she "wanted to go all the way," the woman testified that she said, "No."
Relopez, however, pinned her arms and legs down and raped her, she said, ignoring her pleas to stop.
That woman said she didn't go to the police about the encounter until nearly a year later, when she heard through a Greek life adviser that Relopez had been accused in a second rape.
She said in court Tuesday that she was excited to move on and believed Relopez deserved a harsher sentence because he could go on to rape another woman.
"You just can't put into words what rape is and what it does," she said. "I can say, though, that it tore me apart."