Paul Fierley, 51, was sentenced Thursday in Rockingham County Superior Court on three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. (JAMES A. KIMBLE)
Portsmouth man gets prison for sex assault of disabled woman
Paul Fierley, 51, was repeatedly called a predator at his sentencing hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court for targeting the woman who he knew did not have the mental capacity to give consent for sex.
About a month prior to the assaults, Fierley was convicted of simple assault for kissing another neighbor in the same apartment building, which largely houses elderly residents and adults with disabilities.
Public defender Deanna Campbell questioned how much of an impact the assaults had on her day-to-day life. She argued that Fierley, who she said suffered from depression, anxiety and alcohol issues, should serve a 3 ½ to 7 year prison term.
"One thing that seems clear to this court is that Mr. Fierley would have to be a mushroom living under a rock to think that (she) had a full understanding of what was going to happen to her," Wageling said.
Conway said that the woman could follow routines well, but did not known how to respond to novel situations.
"This is a very tragic case because this family really wanted to give their daughter independence because they realized that someday they are not going to be there," Conway said.
But Wageling added another decade onto the maximum term, so it would ensure that Fierley would be under added supervision once he is released from state prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender for life, and undergo a battery of counseling and education before his release.