When Mandy Boardman walked into the sex crimes office of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, she arrived with a bizarre and downright creepy allegation.
Boardman, a small-business owner, told a detective on May 10, 2011, that her husband, David Wise, had been drugging her for at least three years and raping her in her sleep -- and that she had found video clips on his phone.
For years, she said, she had been feeling sleepy for no reason and had found eye droppers around their bedroom. Sometimes, she said, she would see a strange powder in her drinks, or would wake up with a pill partially dissolved in her mouth, and see her husband slipping away with a flashlight in the dark.
After she confronted her husband, he emailed her, according to police records. "I was taking advantage of you in your sleep and you kept coming to me and telling me it was NOT ok,” Wise wrote in an email to Boardman before she went to the police. "I needed to stop.”
But perhaps the strangest thing is what happened after a jury convicted Wise last month of six felony charges related to sexually assaulting his wife.
On Friday, a Marion Superior Court judge sentenced Wise, 52, to 20 years -- but not a day in prison. Of the sentence, 12 years were suspended and 8 years were to be spent in home confinement.
Prosecutors had asked for 40 years in prison.
And Boardman -- who divorced Wise after discovering what he’d been doing -- is furious.
“To have my rapist, my attacker, convicted on all six counts, only to be let go – only for him to walk out that door the same time I could -- was just unfathomable,” Boardman told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview on Monday. “I never thought that he would be at home, being able to have the same rights and privileges as I do.”
Boardman, 36, is particularly outraged by what Marion Superior County Judge Kurt Eisgruber said to her in court.
“While the judge was giving his opinion on the sentence, he first turned to me and told me I needed to forgive my attacker, which is unfathomable,” Boardman told The Times. “He told me I needed to forgive my attacker and I needed to let my attacker walk. It was a punch to the gut from the justice system -- or from one judge.”
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the accuracy of Eisgruber’s remarks.
Other judges have become targets of national criticism when they are seen as being too lenient on rapists.
Last August, when a Montana state district judge sentenced a high school teacher to a month in prison for raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself, he was swiftly denounced by protesters and public officials for giving too light a sentence.
Victims’ rights advocates in Indiana have expressed concern over Wise’s sentence.
Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Courtney Curtis, who handled the case, told The Times that she was not allowed to express an opinion about the judge’s sentence, but said the crime certainly seemed to warrant a prison term.
“In these types of cases, we always ask for prison time because they are violent crimes of a horrible, horrific nature,” Curtis said. “The fact that someone drugged their wife -- drugged anyone -- for three years, and then videotaped that -- we always ask for prison time, and that’s what we asked for in this circumstance.”
Judge Eisgruber, a former prosecutor who was elected to Marion Superior Court in 2008 and is running for reelection in November, told The Times that he couldn’t comment on the sentence because Wise had filed an appeal of his conviction.
But when asked to clarify his remarks to Boardman about forgiving her husband, Eisgruber said he made them in the spirit of “I hope that you can forgive him one day, because he’s obviously struggled with this and struggled to this day, and I hope that she could forgive him.
“Ultimately, I think that helps a lot of people heal -- it helps them to reach that point,” Eisgruber added. "Some can, some cannot. I’m not in her shoes, I’m not able to say one way or another … It’s not something that’s limited to her or this case. But when people are really struggling, I just offer that out. ... I just hope that they find peace.”
Wise spent a total of 24 days in jail before sentencing, according to the prosecutor’s office. He couldn’t be reached for comment. Wise’s attorney, Elizabeth Milliken, said she could not comment because Wise was appealing his conviction.
At trial, Wise did not confess to sexually assaulting his wife, but did admit having the videos on his phone, said Curtis, the prosecutor.
Wise also told the jury why he had been drugging his wife: “She was snippy and it made her nicer when he drugged her,” according to the prosecutor. Officials think Wise may have been using Xanax, but weren’t sure.
Wise was convicted of one count of rape and five counts of criminal deviate conduct.
Each of those charges normally carries six to 20 years in prison, said Curtis, who added that Eisgruber “didn’t really give a reason” for why he decided to give Wise home detention.
Wise will wear a GPS monitor and is allowed to leave home to go to work if he gets a job, Curtis said.
“He’s currently unemployed, though, so he’ll mostly be at home watching TV,” Curtis said, adding, "For the eight years he’s on home detention, he’s not required to be on therapy or get treatment of any kind.”
The Los Angeles Times normally does not identify victims of sexual assault. But Boardman said she wanted her name printed and her story told because she wanted other victims “to see that I am a normal person who is fighting for the same thing they’re fighting for.”
Boardman had fully supported a lengthy prison sentence for her ex-husband, with whom she has two children. Now, she worries that his home-confinement sentence is “basically stating there will be no consequences for your crime; he got to go home.”
“Somebody who premeditates what he’s doing to me, over and over again, for three-plus years, in my own home, in my own bed, by somebody I trusted fully, 100%, deserves to spend a great deal of their life in prison to pay for it,” Boardman told The Times. “What he did was wrong, and it was proven that it was wrong, and there was no consequence.”
Boardman added: “He never once apologized, never once expressed any type of remorse, and his explanation for admittedly drugging me was because I was snippy. Women, don’t get snippy out there; you might get drugged and raped.”