Crime

North End rapist sent to prison

The man dubbed the “North End rapist” stood up in court Tuesday and apologized to victims.

“I don’t enjoy hurting people. I don’t like making people go through all this,” Andy Gallegos said.

Fourth District Judge Steven Hippler rejected the rapist’s account.

“I believe you were stalking and hunting for victims,” Hippler said.

Deputy Ada County Prosecuting Attorney Cathy Guzman identified Gallegos as the prowler who frightened scores of Boise State University students during a series of campus-area break-ins last fall.

Gallegos touched several women as they slept and stole underwear during the incidents, Guzman said. He was not charged with the BSU-area crimes.

No new incidents were reported after Gallegos was arrested in January, but Boise police and prosecutors did not publicly identify Gallegos as a suspect in those cases until his sentencing for the North End crimes.

Hippler sentenced Gallegos — who turned 27 on Tuesday — to serve 20 years in prison before he’s eligible to seek parole. He could end up spending 30 years behind bars if he isn’t granted parole.

Even that, Hippler said, wouldn’t be punishment enough.

“If I had the opportunity to sentence you to a life term, I would,” he said. “That’s how much of a risk I feel you pose.”

He called the Meridian man a serial rapist who progressed from inappropriate touching and groping of women to violence.

“If you weren’t caught, you would have continued to commit these crimes,” Hippler said.

Guzman said she is satisfied with the sentence and is happy a dangerous predator is off the streets.

“People should feel safe now,” she said.

Defense attorney Lance Fuisting declined comment after the sentencing.

Gallegos pleaded guilty to a rape charge in June and entered a no-contest plea in an attempted rape. Under a no-contest plea, or Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that there is enough evidence to convict.

The attempted rape occurred Aug. 29, 2010. A woman reported a stranger entered her North End home, smothered her with a blanket and punched her in the face.

The woman fought off the intruder and ran out of the house to get help at a nearby convenience store. Photos shown in court Tuesday showed the woman with two black eyes and extensive bleeding to her lips, gums, jaw line and ears.

Investigators found blood on the walls and bed. The next day, the victim found a hat under her bed, Guzman said, and DNA from the hat linked Gallegos to the crime.

Two weeks later, a woman was raped in her North End home. The victim initially thought her boyfriend had awakened her. When she realized it was a stranger, she screamed, alerting neighbors.

Burglary and battery charges brought against Gallegos were dismissed because of a five-year statute of limitations.

When he was arrested in January, Gallegos was also charged in the rape of a woman in Winstead Park by three men in July 2009. That charge was dismissed the following month after prosecutors determined the encounter was consensual.

Gallegos was previously convicted on two counts of battery, after being accused in a series of 12 groping incidents that took place in Boise and Meridian between 2006 and 2008.

Hippler questioned whether Gallegos understood the harm he caused.

“This is haunting for me and everyone around me,” the judge read from a letter written by the attempted rape victim.

In her letter, the woman said she feels guilt for not reporting the incident initially and knowing Gallegos attacked someone else two weeks later.

Fuisting said Gallegos wants to receive treatment in prison. The attorney said he believes his client can become a productive member of society. “He knows he has a problem,” Fuisting said.

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