A man previously imprisoned for a break-in rape was sentenced to more than two decades in state prison yesterday after a Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted him of committing nearly identical offenses while on GPS monitoring and house arrest, District Attorney Rachael Rollins said.
On August 10, 2021, at the conclusion of his Superior Court trial, a jury found Edwin Castro, 32, of Chelsea, guilty of home invasion, assault with intent to rape, armed assault with intent to rob, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (knife) and indecent assault and battery. During a sentencing hearing yesterday, Judge Janet Sanders agreed with the Commonwealth and imposed a term of 20 to 24 years in state prison to be followed by five years of probation.
“As District Attorney, I made a promise to the residents of Suffolk County that I would direct my office’s limited resources to addressing the serious and violent crimes that cause the greatest harm in our communities. We will always fight to protecting our community from individuals like Mr. Castro, who has proven repeatedly that he is a serious threat to the safety of women in Suffolk County. It is Mr. Castro’s violent, sexual actions that got him where he is today. I’m grateful to my team and the Chelsea Police Department for their work to hold this individual accountable for his actions,” District Attorney Rollins said. “Rape is horrible crime. I have described it as a homicide where the person lives. The victim is often forever changed. They survive, but often as a different person then they were. To take such a sacred part of someone requires the most severe of punishments.”
During the course of three days of testimony, Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum, Chief of District Attorney Rollins’ Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, introduced evidence and testimony that Mr. Castro exited his Broadway residence and entered a multi-family home across the street at approximately 7:00 a.m. on October 12, 2018. When a female resident of the building opened her door to leave for work, she encountered Mr. Castro wearing a ski mask and holding a knife. He forced her into her apartment at knife point, demanded money and sexually assaulted the victim. In spite of her attacker’s demands that she not scream, the victim repeatedly cried for help and attempted to flee. Mr. Castro ran from the building and back to his home after the victim continued to resist the attack.
A neighbor heard the victim’s screams and the violent struggle for help and called 911. Chelsea Police arrived at the location after the assailant fled and began an investigation.
At the time of the attack, Mr. Castro was free on bail in 2017 case charging him with breaking and entering. The conditions of release in that pending case required Mr. Castro to wear a GPS monitor and stay inside his own house. GPS evidence corroborated that Mr. Castro left his home and crossed to the victim’s home, barely outside the house-arrest zone, during the period surrounding the 2018 attack. In addition, DNA on the victim’s torn clothing was matched to Mr. Castro.
In recommending a lengthy term of imprisonment, District Attorney Rollins’ office cited Mr. Castro’s history of serious offenses. At age 16, Mr. Castro was indicted under the state’s Youthful Offender statute in connection with a 2005 breaking and entering, armed robbery and rape for which he was ultimately sentenced to six to eight years in prison. Like the most recent case, the 2005 event involved an early-morning masked, knifepoint attack on a woman in her own home only yards from where Mr. Castro lived.
“This individual preyed on women in the community he called home. We as women have every right to be safe in our homes, in our neighborhoods and out in any community. Sexual assault is not a women’s problem. This type of violence impacts everyone. We are your mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, cousins, wives, girfriends, partners, and grandmothers. Our trauma impacts you. Men need to stand up and call out inappropriate sexual behavior when they see it. Fathers and caretakers need to teach their sons about respect and consent and reprimand inappropriate behavior. Until we acknowledge sexual assault as the enormous societal problem that it is, we will unfortunately continue to see sexual violence continue,” District Attorney Rollins said. “My office remains available to this brave survivor and the survivors of all sexual violence. We are available to provide culturally-competent services in the language that survivors are most comfortable and to connect them with the resources they deserve and are entitled to. I also want to thank the neighbor that got involved and called the police. Their quick actions made an enormous difference.”
Sexual assault can happen to anyone. While the victims of any crime are asked to call 911 in an emergency, survivors of sexual violence can also call their local rape crisis center for free and confidential services and to discuss their options. Support is available for all survivors of sexual violence, regardless of whether they wish to take part in a criminal prosecution. Services by city and town can be found at www.janedoe.org/find_help/search.
In Suffolk County, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center offers a free and confidential 24-hour hotline at 800-841-8371. The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center provides medical accompaniment and many other free services to victims of rape and sexual assault. Suffolk victim-witness advocates can assist in referrals to BARCC and a wide array of non-profit service providers who can offer additional support and services.
Alexander Jaramillo is the assigned victim witness advocate. Mr. Castro was represented by attorney Christopher Kenney.