Almost 2 1/2 years after an East Moriches man raped a Stony Brook woman in her neighbor's house -- and later tried to have her killed -- she faced her attacker in a Riverhead courtroom and vowed to live a healthy life while he spends 25 years in prison.
"This chapter of my life will close here, today," the woman told Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn, her voice steady but filled with emotion. "I will walk out of this courtroom and not look back."
"I will do everything in my power to have my story be one of triumph over adversity, not victimization, because that is how I will become whole again," she said. "I hereby transfer my suffering to Patrick O'Sullivan as he receives his sentence today and begins paying the price for his demonic actions on that day."
O'Sullivan, 23, pleaded guilty in February to first-degree rape, criminal sexual act, first-degree burglary, first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of second-degree conspiracy.
He knew a previous owner of the home but was a stranger to the current owner and the woman he attacked. Newsday does not identify victims of sex crimes.
At about 11 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2012, O'Sullivan, wearing a ski mask, broke into the house while the woman was housesitting alone. He tied her hands behind her back with duct tape, cut her clothes off with a knife and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint. Still bound, she said, she had to call 911 with her tongue after he left her.
Until O'Sullivan was arrested 10 days later, the woman said she lived on the edge of panic, terrified he was stalking her. Afterward, she said friends and family learned to tread carefully around her, afraid of inducing a panic attack.
It was three months before she could return to work, she said. Then, in April 2013, her life was upended again when authorities discovered that O'Sullivan offered $10,000 to another inmate at the Suffolk County jail to have her killed. The inmate told police. The woman urgently found a new home.
"Make no mistake, after spending the past 20 years of my career in the mental health field, I do not believe that Patrick O'Sullivan is mentally ill," she said. "I believe that he is a sociopath who made a conscious choice to commit purely evil acts of violence against me. I believe that he cannot be rehabilitated."
Defense attorney William Keahon detailed his client's scarred early childhood, which included severe abuse at the hands of his birth mother and her boyfriends before he was removed from the home and adopted.
"His early years were outrageous," Keahon said.
Assistant District Attorney James Chalifoux said that abuse was a factor in agreeing to the plea deal, as was the victim's desire to avoid a trial.
Chalifoux said her determination is remarkable: "The class, the courage and strength of this victim, I'm not sure I've seen before."
O'Sullivan said he was sorry.
"I'd like to apologize and express remorse from the bottom of my heart," he said.
Before imposing the sentence, Kahn praised the woman's courage and grace, calling it "extraordinary."
She should consider herself a survivor, not a victim, the judge said.