Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
A woman who was sexually assaulted starting when she was a young teenager told her abuser Thursday he had robbed her of her innocence and independence.
“At the age of 15, you stole something from me that you had no right to take. I will live with that for the rest of my life because this is something that can never be undone,” the woman said in an Androscoggin County Superior Court room.
“I can’t say that I lost my virginity to the person I love. The person I love today is the person I wish I was able to experience that with,” she told Michael Veilleux, 40, of Lewiston.
“I was brainwashed and manipulated all the years I knew you,” she said. “I was bribed, lied to and I was taken advantage of when I didn’t deserve that.”
Veilleux had asserted control over her by text messaging her throughout each day, she said. He kept her from spending time with her friends and prevented her “from being able to live a teenage life,” she told him in the courtroom.
“I lived life every day with this terrible secret for years because I was too afraid to speak up,” she said.
Since his actions came to light in 2019, the woman said, “this process has been anything but easy for me — a global pandemic, attending my final year of college, and working — all while reliving a traumatic time in my life over and over again throughout the entire case has been an absolute nightmare.”
Veilleux had been charged with 34 sex crimes involving the same victim, but pleaded guilty Thursday to six of those charges in a negotiated plea; five charges of gross sexual assault and one charge of sexual abuse of a minor. The remaining charges, mostly for gross sexual assault, were dismissed by prosecutors.
Justice Paul Fritzsche sentenced Veilleux to three years in prison on two of the charges. On the remaining charges, the judge sentenced Veillieux to a consecutive eight years in prison, but suspended all of that time.
When he’s release from prison, he’ll be on probation for three years. If he were to violate the terms of his probation, he could be sentenced to serve a portion or all of the eight years that were suspended.
During his probation, Veilleux will be barred from having alcohol or illegal drugs. He must have no contact with the victim as well as any children under the age of 18 unless approved by his probation officer. He may have contact with children in a church setting in the presence of other adults, but may not be involved in any sort of youth ministry, Justice Fritzsche said.
Veilleux must register as a sex offender for life.
He told the judge he is taking responsibility for his actions and is “very sorry. There’s not much I can say. I can’t take it back.”
He said he hoped his plea and sentence would be a “healing process” for the victim and her family.
His attorney, Allan Lobozzo, said his client had no prior criminal history.
Veilleux joined the U.S. Army after high school. He was deployed overseas in Iraq where he served as an operating room technician, assisting in surgical procedures, Lobozzo said.
During that time, he “experienced considerable trauma,” Lobozzo said and returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder. That prompted him to “self-medicate” with marijuana and pills, which contributed to his criminal conduct, Lobozzo said.
He was treated for mental health issues at a Lewiston hospital before seeking help at a faith-based rehabilitation center.
Those problems are “in no way shape or form an excuse” for his behavior, Lobozzo said.
“I will not live in fear and I will not let this define me or beat me down,” his victim told him Thursday.
“I wish I could go back in time to that 15-year-old girl before the innocence was lost and relive that portion of my life again,” she said
Before leaving the courtroom, she said: “I’m not afraid of you, but I truly hope that I never see you again.”
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