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Man Gets 3 Years in Prison for Sexual Assault

SANTA FE, N.M. — A Mexican national who worked as an unlicensed massage therapist was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for the rape of a female client who sought him out for treatment last year.

Marcial Zapata, 39, used his fingers to sexually assault the woman during a massage inside his Santa Fe home last August. The penetration caused “blunt force trauma” to the woman’s vagina, according to Deputy District Attorney Krishna H. Singh.

The victim, who went to Zapata for help with back pain, said in a state District Courtroom on Wednesday that the experience has been “very painful” for her to deal with.

“I don’t wish this on anybody,” the Spanish-speaking woman said through the assistance of a court interpreter. “I want this man to pay for what he did to me.”


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The woman had seen Zapata twice without incident before the assault occurred. However, during the third visit, Zapata “repeatedly fondled her private parts” and penetrated her with his fingers, according to a Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office report.

The woman paid Zapata for the massage and left. She was later examined at the Rape Crisis Center.

Singh said that Zapata’s actions were “absolutely disgusting.”

“This case is so heinous on so many levels,” the prosecutor said. “The violation of a woman can never be excused.”

Singh also lauded the victim’s courage for coming forward, especially since she, herself, is an undocumented resident.

Zapata, who was convicted of criminal sexual penetration during a bench trial in front of Judge Michael Vigil earlier this month, has already been deported to Mexico and was brought back for Wednesday’s sentencing.

Zapata’s attorney, Rod Thompson, asked the judge for leniency. He said that his client has no criminal history and has already served nearly six months behind bars since being charged. Thompson also questioned “the cost to the state for rehabilitating someone who won’t even be released back into society after this,” referring to Zapata’s deportation.

Zapata’s wife, Sylvia Zapata, also asked the judge for leniency, saying that Marcial Zapata is an “exemplary” husband and father. She said that if he could avoid prison time, she and her three children would follow him back to Mexico.

“They need their father,” Sylvia Zapata said through the interpreter. “I need my husband.”

Marcial Zapata said nothing when asked by Vigil if he wished to make a statement before being sentenced Wednesday. The judge then expressed displeasure with what he felt to be lack of remorse on Zapata’s part.

“My concern with this case is Mr. Zapata is unwilling to accept full responsibility for his actions,” Vigil said. “I have to be concerned for not only people in this country, but also in Mexico.”

Cutline – Zapata: Had already been deported