Video: Victim Confronts The Man Who Raped Her 11 Years Ago Outside A Brentwood Ralph's
Eleven years ago, a woman was beaten and raped in a Ralph's parking lot in Brentwood. On Tuesday, she confronted her rapist in court during his sentencing.
Gilbert Lozano Trejo, 58, pleaded guilty in 2012 to raping Jane Piper on August 21, 2003 and yesterday he was sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to the L.A. Times. While we don't normally name victims of sexual assault, Piper asked the media to name her and photograph her to show that she's not ashamed of what happened to her—and that other victims shouldn't be either. She said, “Women are raped every single day, and yet we so very rarely hear from them. I do not want to be silent.”
At the sentencing, Piper thanked Trejo for admitting to raping her: "Before I go into detail about what your beating and raping me did to my life and did to me, I do want to thank you for taking responsibility for what you did," said Piper, according to CBS Los Angeles. "It means a lot to me that you have pleaded guilty."
Lozano attacked Piper, who was 32 then, in the parking lot of the supermarket located at Wilshire Boulevard and Bundy Drive in broad daylight. She was a personal assistant for a television producer at the time and was buying groceries for him. When she was loading her bags in her boss' Suburban, Trejo was standing in the doorway. He threatened her with a corkscrew, and when she grabbed the weapon and tried to get away, he punched her in the head until she was bloody. He raped her for half an hour. She wrote "help" in the fogged-up back window, but no one came. In a statement Piper released before the sentencing, she wrote, "The rapist attempted to drive away holding me captive in my vehicle. But believing in my heart that he would kill me, I was able to jump out the window of the car as he sped off."
The case went cold and detectives were unable to find her attacker. Piper eventually moved to Canada to get a new start; however, nine years after the horrific ordeal, she received a call from cold case detectives who told her they found her rapist through DNA testing.
In court, Piper peppered him with questions about why he did it and how he felt about it. She begged him to become a better person. For the most part, he didn't respond and he tried to look away, but she demanded that he look at her while she spoke and see her for the human being she was. "I can see that you're trying to look away but you can look at me because I'm a person."
Piper asked him in court if he remembered the incident. At first he said he couldn't remember because of a brain injury, but she pressed him before he admitted: "I know that it happened. But I do not remember why or when."
Piper then forgave him. "I acknowledge, Gilbert Trejo, that you did these horrible things to me. You intentionally made a conscious choice to do them. But I forgive you."
Carol Burke of the L.A. County District Attorney's office's sex crimes division told the Times that although rape victims are encouraged confront their attackers in court because it can give victims a sense of "personal justice," many decline. The victims are just "glad the process is over," she said.
But Piper said that questioning Trejo was a way for her to heal and for her to find some closure. "Even just yesterday, even this morning, I was holding on to it," she told the Times. "I literally left it in that courtroom. And now it's done. It's over."
You can watch part of her confrontation in court here (if anyone has access to an unedited version, please hit us up):