Trumbull man spared jail time for sexual assault of Milford woman

MILFORD – A Trumbull man convicted of sexually assaulting a Milford woman in 2021 was spared jail time Thursday as part of a plea deal in the case.

Daniel Marazita, 26, had pleaded guilty under the Alford doctrine to third-degree sexual assault and first-degree unlawful restraint before Judge Peter Brown.

A plea deal in the case called for a 10-year suspended prison sentence and 15 years of probation.

Under Alford, a defendant does not admit to all the facts of the case but concedes there is a likelihood of a guilty verdict at trial.

But, as the woman Marazita assaulted pointed out during an emotional statement, he admitted to the criminal conduct in text messages he sent her afterward. 

While noting the major physical and psychological trauma she has gone through as a result of the assault, she said she chose to accept the resolution of the case to spare herself having to testify at a “dehumanizing trial.”

“Everything that I have gone through with this legal process has been dehumanizing enough, through no fault of anybody, it’s just the way the system works,” she said.

Marazita had initially faced charges of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree assault in the case, in which police said he had arrived drunk at the woman's apartment and that the two began to have consensual sex, but that he then became more forceful and sexually assaulted her even though she said no.

The woman said the June 5, 2021 assault was “the worst thing that’s ever happened to me” — especially since she had known and trusted him.

“I became scared of the person who I felt safest with for almost three years,” she said, later noting she has since moved because of anxiety over seeing Marazita or his friends — just one of many major changes in her life since the assault.

“I stopped being able to trust everyone as much as I did, and I stopped being able to trust myself, because if someone I felt so safe with could do something so violent to me, what did that say about my own judgment?” she said. “I know that isn’t fair to myself, that’s been one my biggest struggles.”

She cried after telling the judge of a “constant, lingering feeling that my body isn’t mine anymore."

“I genuinely don’t remember the last time I slept through the night,” she said. “I have nightmares all the time. I wake up crying all the time. I wake up with my chest hurting from breathing so heavily. I wake up scared all the time.”

And while she said Marazita deserves a more severe punishment, she said she “chose to do what I could to make myself OK with this legal outcome, and OK is stretching it."

“I chose to focus on the fact that a less severe sentence would still keep people safe,” she said. “It would still hold him accountable.”

Given the chance, Marazita declined to speak during the sentencing.

His lawyer, Timothy Aspinwall, said his Alford pleas were the result of “minor factual issues” with the allegations.

He acknowledged the victim’s life “has changed tremendously” and that his client had admitted his criminal conduct in text messages to her.

“It’s very clear from the evidence…that he has admitted his guilt,” the lawyer said, characterizing the assault as an alcohol-fueled sexual encounter that “simply got out of control.”

“She said no and no means no, and he did not respect that,” Aspinwall said, calling the plea deal “the fairest outcome for all involved.”

“No one wanted a trial in this matter,” he said. “I think it would have drastically affected both lives.”

State’s Attorney Margaret Kelley commended the victim for coming forward and seeing the case through.

“It’s very obvious the impact that these crimes have had on her,” the prosecutor said. “I think it gives a great deal of insight into the very nature of a sexual assault type of crime."

“I think it’s also extremely important to recognize the position (the victim) took in order to enable a resolution of this case short of jail time,” Kelley said.

The victim "said everything that you need to hear,” the judge told Marazita before handing down the sentence, which included lifetime sex offender registration and a protective order barring him from having contact with the victim until 2063.

Ethan.Fry@hearstmediact.com