AUGUSTA — A Clinton man who sexually assaulted a young woman and later threatened to shoot himself, the woman and her child was sentenced to eight years in prison, with all but four years suspended, in an emotion-filled court hearing Friday.

Silvestre Frutuoso

Silvestre P. Frutuoso, 52, pleaded guilty to the class B felony charge of unlawful sexual contact, and to unlawful sexual touching, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, and endangering the welfare of a child, Dec. 6, 2019, at his Clinton home.

Frutuoso had been drinking all day on the day of the offense and called to the woman, from the basement of his home, to come down. When she did, she said he was drunk and naked from the waist down. When she helped him up after he fell, as she attempted to put clothing on him, he put his hand up her shirt and then down her pants.

Later, he carried her into a room, took her clothes off and attempted to rape her, according to the state prosecutor, when she kneed him and got away. The victim grabbed her 3-year-old daughter, but was confronted by Frutuoso, who had a gun that police later determined was loaded at the time. He said he was going to kill himself, the victim and her daughter, according to Kristen James-Murray, an assistant district attorney.

Later, another woman who had come home, got the gun away from Frutuoso and threw it into the home’s attached garage. He went out into the garage and, once there, fired off a shot with the gun. He then came back inside and asked the other woman if she wanted him to show her what it feels like to die. Police said they later found an empty shell casing on the garage floor and a bullet hole through a sliding door made of plywood.

Traces of Frutuoso’s DNA were later found on the clothing of the first victim when she went to the hospital for an exam.

In a victim impact statement read in court by James-Murray, the first victim said she initially blamed herself for being sexually assaulted. She said she has trouble sleeping, makes excuses for people who hurt her, feels like she can’t be the best mother she wants to be, and the day of the incident was the worst day of her life.

“I thought I was going to die and my daughter was going to witness that,” she said in the letter.

A tearful Frutuoso, appearing in court via a video feed from Kennebec County jail, apologized and said he hoped the victims could forgive him. He said when the crimes took place he was depressed and drinking alcohol instead of getting help.

“That was the biggest mistake of my life, putting that bottle to my mouth,” Frutuoso said. “I am truly sorry. May God forgive me.”

The victim then spoke in court, and said she forgives him and still loves him.

“Even though you did something unspeakable, absolutely unspeakable, she still loves you and she forgives you,” marveled Justice William Stokes from the bench. “It constantly amazes me how the human spirit is capable of forgiveness.”

Stokes thanked the victim for testifying and stressed that she is not guilty of anything and said she was a hero, beyond being a victim.

“The fact you’re finding it in your heart to forgive (Frutuoso) speaks volumes about you,” he said.

The Kennebec Journal’s policy is to not identify the victims of sexual assaults without their permission.

Frutuoso will be required to be on the state’s sex offender registry for the rest of his life.

A domestic violence assault charge filed against him initially was dismissed.

Frutuoso was at the house when police arrived. And when he turned to look at an officer, he was holding a gun, according to an affidavit filed by Erik Maheu, a Clinton patrol officer who responded to the house Dec. 6.

The officer drew his gun, pointed it at Frutuoso and told him to put his gun down. The affidavit states Frutuoso did not comply until after he was asked multiple times to put down the gun.

Frutuoso’s attorney, Stephen Smith, said Frutuoso is troubled in a variety of ways and it is clear he has work to do on his issues, understands his actions were devastating to the victims, and he feels great remorse and wants to do whatever he can to make things right.

The unlawful sexual contact charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Frutuoso is expected to serve four years but could get the full eight-years of his sentence if he violates probation, which he will be on for three years after his release from prison.

His conditions of probation include that he have no contact with the victims, that he not use or possess alcohol and that he undergo substance abuse and sex offender counseling.

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