JORDAN, Minn. - A woman raped outside ValleyFair employee housing earlier this month is speaking out, questioning why the convicted sexual predator wasn’t in jail.
Austin Jones, 26, was arrested August 7 after police found Perez in a swampy area near the ValleyFair apartments. DNA linked Jones to the sexual assault.
"He took something valuable from someone - from me,” said Perez. “You can’t replace that."
According to a criminal complaint, Perez was on the phone with her boyfriend when she saw a man sitting alone outside. She asked the man if he was okay and before she knew it, he grabbed her.
Police say Jones drug her to a swampy area, cinched a belt around her neck and sexually assaulted her.
Jones has been convicted of sexual assault before. According to court documents, in 2010 Jones raped a 14-year-old girl at a high school drinking party. His sentence was 90 days in prison and fifteen years probation.
Perez says the sentence was far too little, and this time she wants justice not just for her but for his other victim.
"I want her to know that I’m doing everything I can," said Perez. "I don’t know what it’s like to be 14 - be raped and watch the person who did it get away with it. None of it’s fair."
Chief Deputy County Attorney for Carver County Peter Ivy says while the sentence may seem light, it was well within Minnesota sentencing guidelines.
“It was charged quite differently than [this current case] in Scott County,” said Ivy. “They’re different crimes and different cases.”
Ivy said while he isn’t involved in the current case, with several probation violations, a criminal history, and a more serious charge, he believes there will be more jail time.
“What I’ve read…that’s going to be a prison commit,” he said.
As for Perez, she says she's vowing to see Jones get the maximum sentence in this case.
"I feel like I need to do something about it," she said.
She even may be willing to forgive her assailant.
"Hopefully, I can get to a place where I can forgive him,” said Perez. “Forgive everything that happened. It doesn’t mean that I should forget about it. What he did to me, to that girl, probably to other people."