The drunken construction worker who admitted to brutally beating a nurse at a Hell's Kitchen bar last year was sentenced to 16 years in prison yesterday. Mbarek Lafrem, a 32-year-old Moroccan man, had pleaded guilty to charges of assault and attempted sex abuse in July, with his lawyer saying Lafrem thought it was the "right thing" to do. But at the sentencing yesterday, he tried to withdraw his plea deal at the last minute, which was rejected by the judge. “It does appear to be a boilerplate motion filed by many defendants who are often having buyer’s remorse, so to speak, after having time to contemplate their plea. It appears to be a last-ditch effort,” said Shanda Strain, an assistant district attorney.
Around 2 a.m. on March 11, 2010, the 29-year-old female victim had walked down a staircase at the bar "Social" to use the restroom. She was followed by Lafrem, who had briefly danced with her upstairs, though the two had barely said a word to each other. "The last picture I have of him is him breaking into my stall. And I remember screaming," the victim told the Post. She was found covered in blood with her panties off and inside out soon after. The beating left her with a broken eye socket, a shattered nose and a fractured skull and jaw.
Lafrem's lawyer argued that he had "consumed a large quantity of alcohol" and didn't have any recollection of the attack. He was caught on surveillance video and linked to the crime by the victim's blood on his hotel bedding. Facing up to 25 years in prison if he had gone to trial, even Lafrem's lawyer didn't understand why he wanted to pull his plea deal. Officials say that Lafrem's sentence will likely be followed by deportation back to his native Morocco. "In his country, that is the biggest sin you can commit against a woman. It's probably worse than killing someone," Lafrem's lawyer added.
As for the victim, she has been dealing with the psychological and physical affects of the attack—still can't feel her bottom lip to this day. But also since the attack, she has gotten married, and now has a three-and-a-half week old girl. She told the Post, "I'm blessed."