Canadian Businessman Convicted Of Raping Woman In NYC Hotel
NEW YORK, N.Y. - A Canadian businessman who was travelling in a Saudi prince's entourage was convicted Wednesday of raping a woman in a New York luxury hotel room after meeting her out on the town.
Mustapha Ouanes, 60, was being held without bail after the verdict on what he portrayed as a consensual encounter that soured but prosecutors called a case of a man victimizing a woman who couldn't fight him off.
"This was a crime of opportunity — the defendant had a vulnerable, intoxicated woman in his hotel room and sexually assaulted her," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement.
Ouanes is to be sentenced March 15. He could face up to 25 years in prison on the most serious count among several.
The Algerian-born married man was in New York as part of the entourage of a Saudi prince, both sides said, though they didn't identify the royal or exactly what Ouanes does for him.
Ouanes met the then-26-year-old woman and a friend of hers when he approached them in a bar in January 2010, according to trial testimony. Both women were bartenders but off work at the time.
The three went to another tavern for a drink, and then Ouanes invited them back to his Plaza Hotel room for breakfast. As they strolled into the hotel together with his arm around one woman's shoulders, "I thought it might be my lucky day," he testified.
But once they arrived, he was called to attend to something for the prince for nearly an hour, according to testimony. The women waited in the room, and they all had breakfast and Champagne when he returned.
The women then got into the bed, clothed. Prosecutors said the two, who also had smoked hashish, passed out. Ouanes joined them in the bed. "My priority was to sleep," he told jurors earlier this month.
But one of the women said she awoke to find him having sex with her. She and her friend got free of him and called hotel security, prosecutors said.
Ouanes "thought he could get away with it. He thought, 'Who's going to believe two women, who are 25 and 26 years old, who are bartenders, above me, a man who lives in this world, who moves in this world, of wealth and privilege?'" Assistant District Attorney Samuel David said in a closing argument last week.
Ouanes said he did nothing wrong. The woman initiated sexual contact with him and she and a friend of hers concocted the allegations because he wouldn't pay for sex, he and his lawyers said.
"This case is about two women who came up with a story that wasn't true" out of anger, defence attorney Aaron Mysliwiec said in his summation.
News & Politics