An Egg Harbor Township man was sentenced this afternoon to 46 years in prison for the sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults of five women in Atlantic City throughout the summer of 2012, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
Today, April 2, Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard E. DeLury sentenced Hiten Patel, 36, of Egg Harbor Township, to 46 years of incarceration in New Jersey State prison, 45 years of the sentence subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), which mandates that Patel must serve 85% of the sentence—or 38 years and 3 months—before becoming eligible for parole.
On August 2, 2012, Atlantic City Police Detectives, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrested Patel, linking him to a series of sexual assaults committed in the city that summer.
On February 12, 2014, Patel was convicted of 22 criminal counts, including multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, possession of an imitation firearm, impersonation of a law enforcement officer, terroristic threats, and one count each of attempted robbery and criminal restraint.
During the two-week-long trial, several women testified that Patel had attacked them, and recounted being threatened and sexually assaulted at gunpoint.
Several of the victims described being choked by Patel during the attacks. Patel testified during trial that most of his accusers were prostitutes he had solicited or been solicited by for paid consensual sex, denied the sexual assaults of the others, and denied the threats with an imitation firearm.
The State submitted that Patel targeted prostitutes for many of his attacks, alleging that Patel chose prostitutes because they were less likely to go to police. Not all of the victims were prostitutes.
One victim, an 18-year-old Delaware girl, testified that Patel picked her up under the pretense of giving her a ride to the bus station. When Patel locked the doors, threatened her and pulled a gun on her, the girl escaped by jumping from the moving van. With assistance from a NJ Transit bus driver, the victim was taken to hospital and treated for a serious wound to her head and abrasions on several parts of her body from landing on the pavement.
Another victim, a 21-year-old Camden County woman, testified that Patel impersonated an undercover police detective, displaying a badge, and ordered her into the van. He then threatened her with what proved to be an imitation handgun and sexually assaulted her, before she escaped from the van. Atlantic City police officers saw the victim fleeing from Patel’s van, approached her and rendered her aid, then stopped the van and arrested Patel, locating inside the van the badge described by the victim—which proved to be a security ID from his former job with an FAA private contractor—, and a toy gun that the Stated alleged during trial to have been altered to appear real.
This afternoon, three of Patel’s victims addressed the Court, prior to Judge DeLury’s sentencing of Patel.