A Minneapolis man who broke into his ex-girlfriend’s St. Paul apartment, waited for her to return and then raped her at knifepoint was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison and a lifetime registered as a sex offender.
Alec E. Neal, 31, was sentenced in Ramsey County District Court on one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, commonly called rape. As part of his plea deal, burglary and kidnapping charges were dismissed.
The prison term had been agreed on as part of the deal.
Sarah Super, who has identified herself as the survivor of the Feb. 18 attack, said in court that Neal was not suffering from mental illness at the time but, rather, that he was acting on a lifetime of privilege that didn’t teach him the consequences of his actions.
Neal had written a note stating that he would gut her “head-to-toe” and had brought duct tape to her apartment.
“Alec tried to extinguish a flame within me, but now it burns even brighter,” Super said in her victim-impact statement.
“So today, let the record state: Sarah Super is stronger, more alive and more inspired than ever before. … This is not to say that I am grateful for this experience. No person should have to experience the evil of Alec’s crime. But I am consciously choosing to not be broken.”
Super and Neal dated from May 2014 to early 2015. She returned from a trip on Feb. 18, went to sleep and awoke to find Neal naked on her bed. He raped her at knifepoint. She eventually fled out a closet door that led to a common hallway as he slashed at her, cutting her hand.
Neal fled in a car, and was arrested after a 13-mile chase.
Neal told the court Tuesday that he would seek treatment so he could return to society as a “positive contributor.”
“First and foremost, I would like to say how incredibly sorry I am for my actions … ,” Neal said. “My heart aches for everybody affected by these tragic events.”
Neal didn’t offer an explanation for his actions.
Before she sentenced Neal, Ramsey County District Judge Judith Tilsen said she disagreed with Neal’s attorney, Robert Sicoli, who had said his client was “not that kind of person” to commit such a crime.
“You are the kind of person who would do this kind of thing,” she said. “You did it.”
Afterward, Sicoli said Neal’s therapist had diagnosed him with “severe depression” and anxiety, which have not been diagnosed by a medical doctor. Sicoli said Neal was making progress as he began taking proper medication. “We’re not blaming the incident on that,” Sicoli said.
In a written statement, Neal’s parents, Patricia and Craig Neal, said: “We are concerned for Sarah and hope for complete healing for her. Like any loving parents, we stand by Alec during his incarceration as he accepts responsibility for his deeply regrettable actions.”
Super had said in court that Neal’s parents failed to supervise him and protect her when he was discharged from a hospital mental health unit and moved into their home. He left their home the night of the attack.
Super said she didn’t believe that Neal was sincere in court.
“I think Alec is a reflection of a lot of men who feel entitled to women’s bodies and well-being,” she said.
Super is organizing a Break the Silence event from 6 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 18 at Boom Island in Minneapolis.