BRIGHAM CITY — A college football player overpowered a half-dozen women during his time at Utah State University, charming them before getting them alone and then raping or sexually assaulting them.
Five of the women held hands in a Brigham City courtroom Wednesday and shed tears when a judge ordered Torrey Green, a onetime NFL hopeful, to serve at least 26 years and up to life in the Utah State Prison.
"My 5-foot-2 frame towers over you," one woman who was raped by the former linebacker told him as he sat shackled just a few feet away. "How does it feel to be overpowered by a woman half your size?"
Green, 25, insisted again Wednesday that the encounters with the women were consensual. But the judge followed prosecutors' recommendation that he serve six back-to-back sentences for raping five women and sexually assaulting another from 2013 to 2015.
"The jury believes you. The state has believed you," 1st District Judge Brian Cannell told the women, praising their strength. "I believe you."
One of the women told a judge she has had repeated panic attacks since Green raped her at his apartment after taking her out for ice cream in 2015. “I think there was justice here today for each and every one of us individually," she said.
She and the five other victims later developed anxiety and depression that overtook them while sitting in classes on the Logan campus, forcing several to drop out and put their studies on hold.
The trauma continues to jar many of them awake at night and tears at their relationships, they said Wednesday. Three women detailed the lasting effects during the sentencing hearing. Two more submitted letters that were read aloud.
Green, who was found guilty in January of attacking the six women the first time he was alone with them, expressed remorse for his once-fledgling football career but not for his sex crimes. He told the judge through tears Wednesday that he violated his own religious beliefs and the "law of chastity," but said, “I’m not a rapist and I’m not a threat to society.”
“I’m horrified by the way these women described my encounter with each of them, and horrified that they accused me of taking their freedoms away in such a violent way," Green continued. "This was all consensual, and I’m so very sorry that they didn’t feel the same."
The case has "momentarily" affected the NFL career that had begun to take off with the Atlanta Falcons before the allegations surfaced, he said. "It kills me to see my dreams taken away."
Ladora Green maintained that her son, the second-eldest of 11 siblings, never hurt anyone. “There is no way on earth he did anything to harm these girls," she said in court Wednesday. "He doesn't deserve to be in prison. He deserves to be with his family."
Prosecutors disagreed. It was clear the women did not consent to sex with Green when they told him no, fought him to keep their clothes on and cried "tears of sorrow and pain" during the assaults, deputy Cache County attorney Spencer Walsh said. "These cases are 100 percent, crystal clear, non-consensual sexual violence."
In issuing the sentence, the judge said he had hoped Green would show remorse or acknowledgement.
"I have two men standing before me," Cannell told Green. "You’re one thing in public and you're one thing in the privacy of your own room, in the privacy of another."
The judge said the majority of criminal defendants he sees come from broken homes, but Green is an exception.
"I don’t know what happened, but what you did was horrendous. In the eyes of the law, you are a serial rapist," Cannell said.
Five of the women Green assaulted attended the hearing Wednesday, and several shed tears and embraced after the sentence was read.
Green locked eyes with his family before he was led out of the room.
At trial, Green testified that four of the sexual encounters were consensual and two never happened. But a jury disagreed. He was found guilty of five counts of rape, a first-degree felony that carries a sentence of at least five years and up to life in prison, and one charge of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Green's defense had argued the women wanted attention after he signed an NFL contract, noting some came forward years later.
The woman whose assault led to Green's sexual battery conviction sought to set the record straight Wednesday, telling her aggressor that he never broke her heart and she never wanted attention.
"I hope we as women will be able to haunt you just like you haunted us," she told him.
Green, a former USU broadcast journalism major originally from Rubidoux, California, signed a contract with the Atlanta Falcons but was dropped in 2016 when the allegations surfaced.
According to the Cache County Attorney's Office, 12 other allegations involving Green were brought to police but he has not been criminally charged in those cases. He awaits trial in another separate rape case.
The five women who attended the hearing had testified at alternate points, but sat together in court for the first time Wednesday. The sixth determined that watching the sentencing would be too difficult, Walsh said. After the hearing, two said they hope their case will help other survivors find the strength to come forward.
"Being believed multiple times by multiple people is something that doesn’t happen. For it to happen for every single one of us was huge," said the woman who went on an ice cream date with Green. "I think knowing there are other people around us and finally knowing we were able to embrace the other survivors and embrace them with open arms, knowing what they’d been through, I think that was very empowering."
"It's really devastating the circumstances that all six of us met," said another. "But I think it’s also created an unbreakable bond."
In addition to the rape and sexual battery charges, Green was convicted of other counts of object rape, a first-degree felony, and forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. The judge ordered sentences for those counts to be served concurrently with the other sentences.
A jury acquitted Green of aggravated kidnapping and object rape, both first-degree felonies, and another count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, after more than 16 hours of deliberation in January.
The six cases were combined into one trial last year, in large part due to their similarities. Green returns to court Tuesday for a hearing in the seventh case.