EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

March 8, 2013

Angry victim: Court lenient on sexual attacker

'Not enough of a punishment,' she says of probation order

HAVERHILL — About 3 a.m. on May 25 of last year, Susan Lavoie was sound asleep in a bed in her friend’s apartment.

Suddenly, she was awoken by the feel of hands under the covers — hands that were touching and groping her. She was momentarily frozen by fear, but then began to fight back.

“I sat up and started screaming, ‘What are you doing,’ and ‘get out of here,’” she said of how she reacted to the man in her bed. “And he’s laughing at me.”

Lavoie, 53, said she grabbed a metal cane that was leaning against the bed — the cane she uses as an aid to walk because she suffers from terminal bone cancer.

“I started whacking him in the knees to try to get him out of the bed,” she said about 22-year-old Anthony Fowler, who was later charged in the incident. “But he still wouldn’t get out and he continued to laugh at me.”

Lavoie told Fowler she was going to call the police, and he ran out of the apartment, she said. Fowler was later arrested and charged with indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.

At a hearing Feb. 26, Fowler, of 132 River St., pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 18 months probation.

“It’s not enough of a punishment,” Lavoie said. “What he did was a shock and trauma to my life. My marriage is on the rocks, I have nightmares, and some days I’m afraid to go out of my house. I live in constant fear and it’s tearing me apart.”

On Feb. 27, Fowler pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of breaking and entering in the nighttime. That was in connection with an incident in January, in which he entered the home of an elderly woman in Bradford. He was sentenced to four months in jail.

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