KUSA - Thirty years ago, Cheri Webster submitted to a rape kit after she was attacked.
In the years since, someone has pulled that evidence off of a shelf and tested it. And on Tuesday, Webster watched in court as the last of her two attackers was sentenced.
9NEWS typically doesn’t name or show survivors of sex assault, but Webster insisted she wanted to be shown and named for this story.
“I'm no longer a victim, I'm a survivor,” she told Weld County District Court Judge Thomas Quammen during the sentencing for Inocencio Trevino Tuesday.
Because of the statute of limitations for sex assault, prosecutors couldn't charge Trevino or Rusty Barnhart with sex assault. So, both were charged with second-degree kidnapping.
According to court testimony, Trevino, 50, pleaded guilty so he didn’t risk trial and a longer sentence.
“This was outrageous, it was absolutely outrageous what was done to Ms. Webster,” Judge Quammen said from the bench. “And you almost got away with it. Happened 32 years ago, thanks to modern forensic technology, mostly DNA, you and Mr. Barnhart were brought to justice. All she was doing is walking home from Denny's.”
According to the arrest affidavit, Trevino and Barnhart attacked Webster on July 31, 1984 as she was walking home after work.
Webster’s case was unsolved until a 2013 Colorado law mandated all untested rape kits be tested.
DNA linked the two men to Webster’s assault.
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“Thirty years later, it's like really?!” Webster said of her reaction when she got a call from the Greeley Police Department. “And now, it's done, it's done.”
In July, Barnhart, 57, was sentenced to the maximum of 24 years in prison after being convicted of second-degree kidnapping.
Trevino was sentenced to 16 years Tuesday.
“This is what closure is,” Webster said. “I never really knew what the word closure meant, but this is what closure is. It doesn't have to come up anymore.”
Webster said she's now focused on helping other victims become survivors.
She says it's time to stop victim- blaming.
“We need to teach our young men and our children, our sons that you have no right to touch anybody for any reason without permission,” she said.
Back then, Webster didn't get to make choices. But now, 33 years later, she says she’s free.
“I can walk out of here today knowing that I am free from the trauma that has affected me all my life,” she said.
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