A Hammond man convicted of rape and other sex crimes was sentenced Thursday to nearly 23 years in prison.
Mark Paiz Jr. faced more than a dozen sex crime charges in connection with raping one woman in 2017 and sexually abusing another woman in 2016, who, due to her mental condition, was not able to consent.
A jury last week found Paiz guilty of one count each of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree sex abuse and first-degree unlawful sexual penetration.
Prosecutors believe Paiz — who said he was 63 during the trial — is 65 years old. All four convictions are Measure 11 crimes that carry mandatory minimum sentences. His sentence likely means he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Dawn Buzzard, who prosecuted the case, said the victims are left with emotional scars from his actions, but felt having Paiz go to prison for a long time would help.
“She has nightmares all the time about the defendant,” Buzzard said, referring to one of the victims. “Her biggest fear is for him to find her again.”
Paiz, who represented himself at trial, didn’t comment on the sentence.
For one victim, the sentence means her fears can finally be put to rest.
“I’m glad he’s doing time for what he did to me,” she said after the hearing.
Paiz will be back in court later this month for a hearing concerning two counts of first-degree sex abuse and two counts of first-degree sodomy for allegedly having sex with a 9-year-old between 2013 and 2014.