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Courts

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Rape suspect admits guilt to lesser crime

Avoids prison time if plea deal accepted

– A Fort Wayne man charged with rape will likely face no prison time after pleading guilty Friday in Allen Superior Court to a lesser crime.

Allen County prosecutors formally charged Paul C. Ochoa, 23, of the 400 block of Arcadia Court, last summer with rape and sexual battery after investigating how a passed-out woman ended up in the back of Ochoa’s car in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve 2010.

A plea agreement he made with prosecutors, though, calls for him to be given a three-year suspended sentence with four years of adult probation for pleading guilty to the sexual battery charge. Under the terms of the agreement, the rape charge would be dropped.

A judge can accept or reject the plea agreement at Ochoa’s sentencing hearing May 7. Prosecutors did not explain their reasons for dropping the charge.

According to court documents, Ochoa went out drinking with a group of people – including the alleged victim – while celebrating a friend’s birthday. The group ended up at a local strip club, which is the last thing the victim remembers, court records said.

Later, Ochoa drove the woman to his uncle’s home. Ochoa’s uncle came out into the driveway and heard the woman saying, “Paul, stop, Paul stop, no more,” court records said

The woman told police that when she awoke, she was in the back seat of Ochoa’s car and did not remember whether she was assaulted or raped. Testing at the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center found Ochoa’s DNA on the woman, court records said.

When questioned by police, Ochoa said that because of drinking, he also barely remembered anything from the night – including the drive to his uncle’s home.

If the plea agreement is accepted, Ochoa will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years, according to court documents.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

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