A Passaic nightclub employee must spend at least 25½ years in state prison before he’ll be eligible for parole for his part in the video-recorded gang rape of a dancer during an after-hours party following his sentencing Tuesday.
In addition to the prison term, Superior Judge Marybel Mercado-Ramirez ordered Michael Ramirez, 39, to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and remain under parole supervision for life.
Jurors in Paterson convicted Ramirez and dancer Trystal Lozada in December 2019 of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and criminal sexual contract following an eight-week trial for the Nov. 5, 2012 attack at Mr. B’s Gentlemen’s Club.
The club had closed for the evening when the group of men and women repeatedly raped the dancer after Ramirez drugged her, “rendering her mentally incapacitated and physically helpless,” Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes said.
The victim -- a then-26-year-old single mother of two -- reported the assault to Passaic police, who recovered the video, which prosecutors entered into evidence during the trial.
The victim said she was forced into making the pornographic video in the club and an upstairs apartment.
Defense attorneys claimed she participated freely and went to police when she didn't get paid.
Ramirez was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in state prison, 85% of which he must serve under New Jersey's No Early Release Act.
Lozada’s sentencing still hasn’t been scheduled.
Co-defendant Miguel Delacruz pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault and was sentenced in February 2018 to 12 years in state prison, more than 10 years of which he must serve before becoming eligible for parole.
Codefendant Ashley Maldonado pleaded guilty to the same charge and is scheduled for sentencing on March 12.
Codefendant Luis Guzman is scheduled for trial beginning Jan. 27, 2020.
Handling the case for the state are Chief Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Gina Pfund and Senior Assistant Prosecutor Anneris Hernandez of Valdes’s Sexual Investigations Unit.
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