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Man gets 22 years in prison for assault on Japanese tourist at Falls park

The man who robbed and sexually abused a Japanese woman during her visit to Niagara Falls in 2015 was sentenced to 22 years in prison Friday by a Niagara County judge.

Robert E. MacLeod, 45, of 30th Street in the Falls, was sentenced to 15 years for his conviction on two counts of second-degree robbery and seven years in prison for first-degree sexual assault.

"That means he has a determinate sentence of 22 years," said Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco, who prosecuted the case. "Plus 15 years post-release supervision."

Zucco said his office asked for the consecutive terms, and Judge Matthew J. Murphy III agreed that the crimes were separate and deserving of the longer prison time.

Japanese tourist identifies suspect in Niagara Falls attack

MacLeod was convicted in January of attacking Koyuki Nakahara of Tokyo on Christmas night 2015 while she was in Niagara Falls as part of a bus tour of the northeastern United States.

Nakahara returned to Niagara Falls to testify in the case, identifying MacLeod as the man who knocked her to the ground, beat her in the face and stole her purse and shoes.

Japanese tourist 'traveled 24,000 miles' to hear guilty verdict in Falls assault

She testified that she had asked a man for directions to the pedestrian walkway over the Rainbow Bridge, but that MacLeod led her in a different direction, into the State Park.

The purse theft and assault were captured on surveillance video from the Maid of the Mist property, but the subsequent sexual incident was not. Nakahara said that when she begged MacLeod to return her passport, he grabbed her by the arm, pulled her into a wooded area, ordered her onto all fours and had her rub her toes against his crotch.

Zucco said he notified Nakahare via email of the sentencing Friday, and praised her willingness to return for the trial.

Quest for justice in Falls attack 'made me stronger,' tourist says

"She was remarkable in this case," he said. "She was so brave. It has not been easy for her. She still has anxiety."

Zucco also credited the work of the state Park Police, members of the public who came forward, and Andrew Messer of the Maid of the Mist, who helped find the video that led to MacLeod's arrest on Dec. 30, 2015.

"There were a lot of praiseworthy people involved," he said.

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