Judge sentences former hotel barman to 4 years for rape

‘I am a survivor,’ victim tells court
2013-01-10T17:08:00Z 2013-01-10T17:12:39Z Judge sentences former hotel barman to 4 years for rapeKERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
January 10, 2013 5:08 pm  • 

A former barman was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in state prison for raping a tourist from Texas at the Napa hotel where he worked.

Napa County Superior Court Judge Mark Boessenecker sentenced Henry Palacios, 35, of Napa, to four years, four months under a plea agreement reached in December.

Palacios, who pleaded no contest to rape and burglary, will also have to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison. A no contest plea has the same effect of a guilty plea at sentencing.

Palacios was a barman at the River Terrace Inn in Napa in March when he entered a hotel room and raped a woman who had gone to bed early after she felt sick after a day of wine tasting. She was part of a group of four women, who were staying at the hotel during their visit to the Napa Valley and had rented a limousine to go wine tasting.

At the preliminary hearing, the woman, referred to as Jane Doe, told the court she woke up to find Palacios on top of her, raping her.

On Thursday, the 34-year-old woman told the judge she woke up to a nightmare.

“I am a survivor,” she told the judge while seated next to prosecuting attorney Lance Hafenstein.

After returning to Texas , her mother had to stay with her and her daughter for weeks, the woman said. On weekends, she went to her parents’ because she could not stand to be alone. Her relationships with co-workers have suffered, she said. She has had to take time off from work.

She was afraid to go to sleep and would many times wake up seeing Palacios’ eyes in her face. “There were days I went without any sleep,” she said.

Palacios “took so much” from her, she said.

Jane Doe thanked people who helped her through the ordeal, including the District Attorney’s Office and Napa Police officers for the attention they have given to her case. She now attends counseling, has taken self-defense classes and hopes to use her experience to educate other women of dangers they don’t give thought to, she said.

Palacios entered a plea five months after a judge ordered him to stand trial for the rape.

After the hearing, Hafenstein said he agreed to the plea because he thought a prison sentence was appropriate.

“The victim and I discussed and agreed upon the resolution,” Hafenstein said.

Palacios did not speak at the hearing. In court, defense attorney Jeff Hammond said it was the right sentence. There are many victims as a result of what happened, he said, referring to all the parties involved, including Palacios’ family and Jane Doe.

“This has been a difficult case for everybody,” Hammond said.

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(5) Comments

  1. Old Time Napkin
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    Old Time Napkin - January 10, 2013 7:14 pm
    This guy should have got more time. Not enough punishment for a crime of this type. He probably used a pass key to enter the room, so his intent was to do great harm to the victim. This is a dangerous man.
  2. kevin
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    kevin - January 10, 2013 8:52 pm
    Maybe he will be a little more "sensitive" to what rape means after he is in prison for awhile. God willing....
  3. Lynn W
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    Lynn W - January 11, 2013 6:44 pm
    We can only hope Kevin.
  4. Iamfalconer49
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    Iamfalconer49 - January 12, 2013 7:52 am
    I hope this victim sues the hotel.
  5. alucawanza
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    alucawanza - January 16, 2013 10:20 am
    I agree. Always latch the hotel door. If it doesn't have a latch...don't stay there.
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