Former Miami student Nicolas Cristescu was sentenced to five years in prison for a felony charge of gross sexual imposition Monday in the Butler County Court of Common Pleas.
Cristescu, 20, was originally indicted for rape, sexual battery and 11 counts of voyeurism after allegedly drugging, raping and filming an unconscious woman in his Heritage Commons residence in the hours between Oct. 11 and Oct. 12.
As part of a plea bargain, Cristescu pleaded guilty to the amended charge of gross sexual imposition in December. The charges for voyeurism and sexual battery were dismissed.
The five-year sentence which Judge Michael Oster ordered is the maximum sentence for gross sexual imposition, a third degree felony. Oster also ruled that Cristescu be registered as a Tier I sexual offender, requiring Cristescu to register every 12 months for a period of 15 years.
As part of the plea bargain, Oster said, he was directed to view and watch the photos and videos of the victim. After seeing the footage, he said, he knew he was watching someone being raped.
“This perpetrator knew exactly what he was doing,” Oster said.
During Cristescu’s allocution — the formal statement a guilty defendant is allowed to make before being sentenced — he cited the events of Oct. 11-12 as the “biggest mistake of [his] life,” and said he had consumed alcohol and Xanax the night of the assault.
“This defendant did not care about his fellow human being,” Oster said, calling this sentencing “one of the most appalling things” he has had to do in his years on the bench.
Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kelly Heile described the amount of pornography and nudity found on Cristescu’s phone as “extreme” and “one of the worst” she had seen.
“The phone’s content shows an entirely different person than the one described in the letters,” Heile said, referring to the nine character references written by Cristescu’s friends to the judge.
Cristescu had developed a filing system on his phone, Heile said, storing explicit photos and videos of individual, unidentified females.
The victim addressed Cristescu at the hearing, tearfully describing how the October assault had traumatized her and her family, who watched from the front row of the courtroom. She described how she now has to seek frequent medical treatment for her trauma, recently dropped out of school and had to move away from her friends — her largest support group.
“My life will never will never be the same,” she said.
After the assault, Cristescu called her, she said, because he was facing drug charges, and, when law enforcement officers were searching his phone, they found explicit photos and videos of her.
He asked her to lie about the photos and videos of her on his phone and the events of the assault, she said.
The victim eventually went to the police and identified herself as the woman from the photos and videos.
“I felt as though I didn’t have ownership of my body anymore,” she said after viewing the video with the detective.
Oster took a moment to speak to the victim after she finished reading her statement.
“I hope you’re able to understand, yourself, that this isn’t your fault,” Oster said.
On Dec. 14, in Butler County Area I Court in Oxford, Cristescu pleaded guilty to a marijuana paraphernalia charge and an amended class one misdemeanor for disseminating matter harmful to minors. The drug charge was the original offense which prompted the search of Cristescu’s phone.
Cristescu studied finance at Miami and was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity — two facts which Cristescu’s attorney, Steve Kilburn of Rittger’s & Rittger’s, cited in defense of his client’s character.
As of December, Cristescu was a sophomore, but he was not enrolled at Miami for the spring semester, said university spokeswoman Claire Wagner.
Initially, Oster had told Cristescu his 33 days already served in Butler County Jail would apply toward his five-year sentence. However, Heile cited that Cristescu was not eligible for the Ohio Revised Code 2967.19 “Petition for Early Release” ordinance, and Oster revoked Cristescu’s earned time.
After clarifying the terms of Cristescu’s sentence, Oster addressed the victim one last time.
“The court system is ill-equipped to make someone whole,” Oster said. “Never let anyone take away your power to live, only you get to define your life.”
Cristescu was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs to serve his sentence.