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College Park rape survivor speaks of ordeal, recovery

A young woman who was raped and beaten after she went out with friends in College Park said that the experience will not define her life or stop her from succeeding.

After the attack, "I proved to myself I can succeed. I graduated with a great GPA and got a job," said the woman, 22 now, who spoke to a group of TV, radio, and print reporters on the condition that she not be identified by name and that her face not be photographed. The woman now works for a public relations firm.

The woman was a 21-year-old student at the University of Maryland when she was attacked.

She had been out drinking with friends at Cornerstone, a College Park bar on Route 1, and left about 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2009.

The woman accepted a ride from a man, later identified as Derik E. Villeda-Morales, 24, of Laurel.

The woman told reporters she thought Villeda-Morales was a taxi driver, even though his vehicle did not have taxi markings. "He said 'Yes, I'm a cab driver,' " she said.

The woman settled into the front passenger seat and gave Villeda-Morales the address of the home she shared with other students. But he drove by it.

She said she called friends and police, but Villeda-Morales began hitting her with his closed fist.
"I felt like he had complete and utter control over me," the woman said. As Villeda-Morales hit her, she lapsed in and out of consciousness.

Villeda-Morales drove to Route 50 in Cheverly, where he forced the victim to peform oral sex and raped her, according to court records. The victim suffered a swollen right eye and a bloody nose. The attacker drove the woman into Davidsonville, where she managed to get out of the vehicle. An off-duty police officer spotted her and helped her, the woman said.

Asked whether her drinking had affected her judgment that night, the woman said, "You should feel safe in whatever situation you are in, you should feel safe. Obviously, that's not the truth." The woman noted that she was able to accurately describe the attack and her assailant to police.

Her description paid off. About two weeks after the attack, Villeda-Morales was stopped for a traffic violation. The woman picked his picture out of a photo array.

Last week, Villeda-Morales pleaded guilty to second-degree rape and second-degree assault, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. After he serves his prison term, federal immigration authorities will seek to deport Villeda-Morales who is in the country illegally, Prince George's prosecutors said. Villeda-Morales is originally from Guatemala.

The rape survivor praised the work of police and prosecutors. "To know he's in prison and will be deported afterward is a huge relief," she said.

Ruben Castaneda

By Ruben Castaneda  |  February 25, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Pr. George's , Ruben Castaneda  | Tags: College Park, Derik E. Villeda-Morales, Glenn F. Ivey, rape  
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Please know that you're not alone. I respect the fact that you say this won't define your life. It's one of the most solid things you can say to other survivors out there. Stay strong & be safe.

Posted by: goldenpumpkin | February 25, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I do not wish to detract from this woman's experience. She undoubtedly suffered an extremely traumatic event and no one should have to live in fear of criminals roaming the streets but what happened to her was all too preventable.

It is extremely foolish for a young woman to have been out drinking until 2:30am and then proceed to step into a "cab" that had no markings indicating it was a cab just because the driver told her he was.

She may have graduated with a high GPA but if her story is true then her street smarts is about equivalent to a 1st grader. Predators don't care if you know calculus...

Posted by: gotpaint32 | February 25, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break. She is a coward. Won't even let us know her name so we won't know her for the tramp she is.

Posted by: FridayKnight | February 25, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

FridayKnight, maybe one day your daughter will get raped and then you can let the whole world know.

I can't believe the "blame the victim" attitude here.

Posted by: reiflame1 | February 25, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm apalled by the mean-spirited comments that people make behind the shield of anonymity in comment sections.

Just because a young woman makes a mistake doesn't mean that she deserves to be beaten and raped. We ALL make mistakes.

My praise to this woman for not letting the event define her life, as painful as it must have been. Rape is not about her, or about sex. It is about a very perverse, disturbed, and evil man.

Posted by: wobbleman47 | February 26, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Not all Hispanics are here legally.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 26, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

More illegal scum....Deport them all NOW!!!

Posted by: isidore | February 26, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

wobbleman47 wrote: Just because a young woman makes a mistake doesn't mean that she deserves to be beaten and raped.
Exactly which comments state this? None. And she didn't.

But she used poor judgment and did stupid things. And stupidity can be injurious if not lethal.

Posted by: checkered1 | February 26, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

No one deserves to be treated this way- drunk or not. We have TOO MANY home grown undesirables here now- we DO NOT NEED ILLEGAL ALIENS SLITHERING INTO THIS SANCTUARY STATE! We don't know who is entering this country. Many are criminals from their countries of origin. This is a serious threat to our nations sovereignty and a MAJOR NATIONAL SECURITY RISK! Go to Help Save Maryland's website and get educated. Together we can make a difference!

Posted by: roxy1 | February 26, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Wow, there are some evil people posting comments here.

I pray for the woman who suffered through this ordeal. She should be proud of herself for the way she has reacted afterward.

Posted by: tcal02 | February 26, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

This is an obvious example of how college (and high school) GRADE-CREEP has affected our young peoples' lives.

Here we have a college student -- who on TV reported a 3.5 GPA -- female, alone, drunk, accepting a ride with a stranger, a beaner-bogus "cab-driver" no less, but failing to get the turn-on she probably expected in back-seat-whoopee, now moaning about her disappointing evening out!

What does this incident say about the 10-percent of U.S. students getting merely average grades?

Makes me worry.

Posted by: kinkysr | February 26, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who are throwing around all the negative responses; I say to you....I hope that you don't find yourself facing charges or in jail one day. Because if you think what he did was okay then that tells me that YOU wouldn't think twice about doing it your damn selves!!!!!

Posted by: Tonihall1 | February 26, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, yet another illegal cockroach committing horrendous crimes, what a shocker. I encourage everyone to write your state reps and let them know what a fine job they're doing to protect the LEGAL residents of this state. The sanctuary policies must end or this will continue.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Posted by: savethepcbs | February 26, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Come to California and see what our irresponsible political leaders have done to our state with the millions of illegal aliens
here and their anchor babies!
Most Anchor babies have grown and now destroy our cities with glee!
In Hemet Ca. Mexican cholo gangs have nearly
assassinated a Police officer with a booby trap gun!
Illegal aliens drive illegally and their sob stories appear in newspapers as if they are the victims when caught at Checkpoints.
They drive just like this cockroach in the article. And they have fake drivers licenses they buy in Griffith Park.
Remember when Americans walked the park?
Now drug dealers and these scum are there.
Write or Call your Reps. If it helps.
California is hell and getting worse.

Posted by: DC50 | February 28, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Again as I comment before our FAMILIES are at the mercy of ILLEGALS and their Anchors being murdered, raped, infected with disease, or robbed. We can see the results of the ILLEGAL invasion in our courts every day! But NOT to worry the Chamber of Commerce will get their cheap labor increasing their privatized PROFITS while socializing the benefits for their ILLEGALS on the back of U. S. Citizens, thanks to our past and current Presidents, the Congressional Leadership(?), and local elected and appointed officials!

Posted by: walnutst | March 1, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Obviously the young woman used poor judgement in drinking too much and then taking a ride without checking the driver very carefully.
But I wonder how many of the insensitive persons commenting here have ever demonstrated less than sterling judgement , particularly in their teens and twenties. My guess is they were just fortunate that nothing too bad happened to them. THis young woman was very unlucky but she seems to have some resilience.

As for the anti-immigrant rants- please spare me. We are all happy to benefit from cheap labor here at home or when we buy inexpensive goods from China and elsewhere.
Even if we could close our borders, we have about 12 million persons who are in this country illegally. Most are working hard , though plenty would better off back where they started from. The goal is to separate the latter from the former in a way that proves we are better than the often brutal societies these people have fled.

Posted by: OlSloaner | March 1, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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