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N. Falls man sentenced 22 years for attacking Japanese tourist

Posted at 3:04 PM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 18:22:09-04

A Niagara County Court judge sentenced Robert MacLeod, 44 of Niagara Falls, to 22 years in prison for attacking a Japanese tourist in Niagara Falls State Park on December 25, 2015.

A jury found MacLeod guilty of two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of first-degree sexual abuse in January.

MacLeod will serve two 15 year sentences concurrently for robbery charges, followed by 7 years for the sexual abuse charge.

Judge Matthew Murphy handed down the maximum sentence, calling MacLeod's actions "cold, craven and calculated".

"I believe that you were patrolling the area around Niagara Falls like a wolf looking for a lost sheep," Judge Murphy said Friday in court.

That "lost sheep" was Koyuki Nakahara, who was traveling with a Japanese tour group and visiting Niagara Falls.

MacLeod attacked Nakahara after she asked him for directions to the Peace Bridge on Christmas night in 2015. 7 Eyewitness News generally doesn't identify victims of sexual abuse, but Nakahara has spoken publicly about her case.

Prosecutors say MacLeod would have likely gotten away with the crimes had it not been for Nakahara agreeing to return to the United State to testify at trial.

"I know we had a video, but we would not have been able to prosecute this case without her," Assistant District Attorney Robert Zucco said. "It is unusual when a victim comes forward, and at such sacrifice."

Joe Koessler, Japan's Honorary Consul General in Buffalo, has been in contact with Nakahara, who did not return to Western New York for MacLeod's sentencing.  He said he left a message about the sentencing for Nakahara.

"To everyone who helped her, she was overwhelmed by the amount of support that she got here in the Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Lockport community," Koessler said. "She said she would come back here in a heartbeat."

As part of the sentence, MacLeod will have to register as a sex offender.  MacLeod's attorney has already filed paperwork to start the appeal process.