A Metairie man convicted of sexually abusing a girl over a 4-year period beginning when she was 8 years old was sentenced on Wednesday (March 23) to life in prison plus 57 years.
Simon Shokr, 44, was convicted as charged by a Jefferson Parish jury on March 4 of aggravated rape, sexual battery of a victim under age 13 and indecent behavior with a juvenile in connection with the abuse that began in 2008.
Shokr told the girl to say nothing, and she complied until she reached high school, when she told classmates who in turn alerted a teacher and led to an investigation and his arrest by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The victim, now age 16, recounted in impact testimony on Wednesday of how she resorted to cutting herself to “focus on the pain of my wounds instead of the pain I felt inside” she felt because of the sexual abuse. She said she attempted suicide five times and was hospitalized as a result.
“Today I stand before you to say I am no longer a victim. I am a survivor,” she testified.
The victim’s mother called Shokr “a monster” and hoped he would be “haunted” by his behavior while serving his sentence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. “You’re an evil sexual predator who preyed on innocent girls,” she told him. “May you never find peace in your dark soul.”
Shokr, one of 10 inmates in the packed courtroom, said nothing during the sentencing hearing. During his trial, he said he was a businessman who immigrated to the United States from Beirut, Lebanon in 1989. He denied the rape accusations and said the girl fabricated the accusations because of upheaval in her family.
Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the mandatory life sentence for aggravated rape in Louisiana. Judge Grefer then sentenced him to 50 years in prison for the sexual battery and seven years in prison for the indecent behavior. Judge Grefer ran the sentences consecutively.
Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the case.