Child rapist sentenced

Ole Ricardo Silva, 36, Minot, was sentenced Friday morning for the continuous sexual abuse of a child and gross sexual imposition, both Class AA felonies, at the Ward County Courthouse in Minot. The abuse of the minor girl occurred from when she was six to when she was nine while Silva was her stepfather.

Silva will serve 50 years, with 10 years suspended for a lifetime of supervised probation, at the North Dakota State Penitentiary. Upon his release he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He was also assessed $1,025 in total court fees. This is exactly the punishment recommended by the prosecutor.

The sentencing hearing was an emotional one. The father of the girl, whose name will not be disclosed to protect the victim, was called to the stand by prosecuting Assistant State’s Attorney for Ward County Nikos Berkowitz in order to make his statements.

“I’m here to discuss the incident that happened to my daughter from a man, a so-called father figure, Ole Ricardo Silva Jr. This man has been found guilty by a jury of his peers for the molestation of my daughter,” the father said at the beginning of his statement. “I feel he should get no less than life in prison without parole and some may ask why. … He stole the innocence of my little girl, a little girl who will probably never look at any man again and think ‘Can I trust him?’ My daughter has frequent nightmares of the horrors and the terrors that Ole put her through. She won’t go outside and ride a bike by herself anymore. She’s scared.

“If I could, I would take matters into my own hands,” he added. “But I know in my heart and in my mind that our justice will prevail.”

“I don’t want this to happen to me again,” the victim said herself during her testimony in the trial in late April. “I don’t want this to happen to anyone.”

The emotion didn’t leave, either, when Berkowitz said that continuous rape of a child, “even more so when it’s imposed from a father figure,” is “the most heinous, vile, and atrocious act any human being can impose on another human being.”

He then ran through the 14 modifiers that could be used to lessen a sentence, only granting Silva the benefit of having cooperated with law enforcement during the investigation and that, perhaps, Silva had been a good father in some ways to his own, biological children, but that being an otherwise good father doesn’t preclude someone from being a rapist.

According to the pre-sentence investigation, Silva was also found to have broken probation which, according to Berkowitz, shows he does not heed court orders, like a possible order to stay away from children. He also has a criminal history including domestic violence some of which was directed toward the victim’s mother theft, and possession of cocaine.

A psychologist who tested Silva testified that he was at high-risk for recidivism, which means he is very likely to strike again against elementary-school-age boys and girls which, according to Berkowitz, Silva has a proven attraction to.

At that statement Silva smiled, looked at his family in the gallery and shook his head.

Silva’s defense attorney, Kerry Rosenquist, of the law firm Rosenquist & Arnason, PLLP, said that those psychological tests for recidivism are inherently flawed and can produce false positives. One test question, he used as an example, gave two points toward risk to a subject if they hadn’t been in a live-in relationship within the past two years. This is invalid, he argued, because the likelihood of someone of a younger age, he used 18, taking the test would be unlikely to have had that experience but would have to carry those two points. He also said that a subject, once convicted of a crime, will also be given points if they continue to deny the allegations, as Silva has been “unequivocal,” in the words of Judge Douglas Mattson, in doing so throughout the trial.

Rosenquist’s counter-suggestion for punishment was for 30 years in prison and lifetime sex offender registration.

“I ask that you give me a second chance at life,” Silva said in his own statement, adding that he’s “not the monster” he’s been made out to be.

Rosenquist’s request, after the judgment, that Silva be granted visitation behind glass with his biological children will be considered by Mattson. He will issue a written order regarding the issue at a later date.