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Rapist of 2 schoolgirls sent to prison

Judge says attacker has no respect for other human beings

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It probably will be a long, long time before Dominic Benito Alires sets foot outside prison.

Friday he was sentenced to prison for the brutal rapes of two girls who were abducted at knifepoint while one waited for the school bus and another walked to school. The serial attacks shocked the Salt Lake community just under two years ago.

"You, sir, are a man who has no respect for other human beings," 3rd District Judge Leslie Lewis said.

"There are some crimes so egregious that rehabilitation is simply not a possibility outside confinement," Lewis said, noting that she has seldom seen emergency room reports for victims detailing such serious physical trauma.

Lewis sentenced Alires to 15 years to life for raping a child and 15 years to life for aggravated kidnapping, both first-degree felonies. These sentences will run concurrently. She also sentenced him to 15 years to life on another charge of raping a child, with this sentence running consecutively to the first.

Alires, 29, will be on a waiting list for a sex offender treatment program in prison.

One victim tearfully addressed Lewis at the hearing. She said she could go to just as much counseling as Alires, but "no one can reduce my sentence," the girl sobbed.

"It will always be there," she said, adding that the rape has hurt every person in her life.

Lewis praised the victims for their strength and courage, urging them to not forever see themselves as "victimized by an animal." Instead, the girls should use their bravery and counseling to emerge from the trauma as stronger people who can lead meaningful lives, the judge said.

Alires pleaded guilty to grabbing at knifepoint a 12-year-old girl who was walking to school on Dec. 17, 1999, according to prosecutor Dane Nolan. He shoved her into his vehicle, drove away and raped her twice, Nolan said.

"The amount of time that took, the amount of terror she was under, is something we don't know, but we can imagine," Nolan said.

Nolan said Alires attempted to kidnap another girl waiting for the school bus Jan. 6, 2000, but was frightened off by some unknown Good Samaritan who drove by and shouted "What are you doing?" at Alires.

But minutes later, Alires grabbed yet another 13-year-old girl at knifepoint while she was waiting for the school bus, spirited her away to his trailer, threatened to kill her if she screamed, and took off her clothes, Nolan said. She begged him not to hurt her and even offered him a ring, which he took, Nolan said.

After Alires raped the girl, he fell asleep; the girl ran two miles to her home and later led police to Alires' trailer where he was found "sleeping and drunk" — and they also found the girl's ring, Nolan said.

"In my view, the only reason he pled guilty (to a plea agreement) was because we had him cold. There was DNA evidence," Nolan said. "He tries to blame drug use and alcohol and his wife for what he did."

Defense attorney Michael Peterson said the case obviously was one of "extraordinary and extreme egregiousness" and it warranted a prison sentence, but he urged Lewis not to give Alires the 45 years to life recommended in a presentence report.

That would be comparable to a life sentence and would tie the hands of the Board of Pardons, which might in future years see some improvement in Alires after he has undergone intensive therapy in prison, Peterson said.

Alires told Lewis "my solemn remorse is very deep" and asked her for mercy. "Being locked up has shown me there is an empty void I have in my life. I only hope I can fill that void with God's love and teaching," he said.

Alires also provided Lewis with a two-page letter apparently expressing remorse, but she dismissed it as "all lip service."

"He showed no mercy or remorse to the victims," Lewis said.

E-mail: lindat@desnews.com