A Union County man was given a suspended sentence Thursday in the sexual assault of an Atlantic City motel worker.
John Ryan, 30, previously admitted to the June 13, 2016, assault on the woman inside a room at the Knight’s Inn.
He was given a five-year sentence, but he will not serve prison time unless he violates the conditions of his release. He must register as a Megan’s Law offender with lifetime supervision.
“I will never be the same person I was before this rape and assault happened,” the victim said in a statement read in court by Chief Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Buckley.
The victim, whose name is not being printed due to the nature of the assault, was delivering towels to Ryan’s room when she was attacked.
An employee came after hearing her muffled screams, but Ryan already had fled. He was arrested a month later.
The victim said she thought he was going to kill her.
“The state applauds her courage throughout this process,” Buckley told Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury.
As the letter was read, the woman sat stoically next to a victim-witness advocate, occasionally wiping her eyes.
“I’ve been marked with so much trauma and fear inside of me,” the letter read. “To this day, I have not told my youngest daughters of this occurrence.”
Loud bangs or the pain in her back from the attack often will bring her back to that day, she said in the letter. She tried to return to work but has been unable.
“I don’t think there’s anything I can say that would…” Ryan said, trailing off. “I just wish it never happened. From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say.”
Defense attorney David Bruno indicated that there may have been a basis for an insanity defense, but Ryan chose to plead.
“This really is because of mental health,” Bruno told the judge. “He was in the thrust of psychosis at the time of the offense.”
The judge noted that justice is imperfect, and said there was no sentence that would repair the mental and physical scars of the attack or her piece of mind.