HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – It was sentencing day for a Hollywood bartender convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in the parking lot of the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.
“The life I came from before this incident, it was that of a good person,” James Amelio said in court.
Amelio pleaded for mercy as he was sentenced for sexual battery.
He was convicted of assaulting a woman in the parking lot of the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.
He said he wanted to apologize to the victim, but Broward Circuit Court Judge Dennis Bailey took exception to what he said.
“I feel horrible about being a part of this situation that brought on these experiences for you and I offer my deepest apologies,” Amelio said.
“He’s not a part of the situation. He is this crime,” Judge Bailey said.
Amelio and his victim were seen on surveillance video back in August of 2015 holding hands, hugging and later getting very passionate after a night of heavy drinking.
The woman then appears to pass out, but video shows Amelio did not stop and even snapped pictures with his cellphone.
The victim had her attorney read a letter to the judge before sentencing.
“I found the most difficult part of all of this to be coming to terms with the fact there are just very bad people in this world walking amongst us and that I unfortunately encountered one of them,” Assistant State Attorney Patyl Oflazian read in court.
Before imposing sentence, the judge heard from Amelio’s family and friends. He cut off the defendant’s father when he began talking about the victim.
“When I saw the video…” Amelio’s father began to say.
“Go sit down, I’m done with you. Go sit down,” Judge Bailey interrupted.
A family friend was interrupted too.
“He did a stupid thing under the influence of alcohol and we’ve all done stupid things under the influence of alcohol,” the woman said.
“Whoa, whoa. Wait a minute, wait a minute. He committed a sexual battery on a woman. He is a sexual predator. He is a sexual predator. This is not excusable by alcohol. The vast, vast majority of people who get drunk don’t commit sexual assault,” Judge Bailey responded.
Amelio sat expressionless when Judge Bailey sentenced him. He was hoping for probation, but got 10 years in prison followed by 10 years probation.
“We have got to recognize that when a woman falls unconscious, that’s it, this is over and he’s got to leave her alone,” Bailey said.
While he’s spending those 10 years in prison and 10 years on probation, Amelio cannot have contact with the victim. The judge stressed that if he violates that he could face the maximum of 30 years in prison.