Women who were drugged and sexually assaulted by a former UN employee gave impassioned statements at his sentencing in Manhattan federal court Thursday — blasting the fiend as a “predator and a rapist” whose story “ends here today.”
Karim Elkorany, 39, was sentenced to 15 years in prison — the maximum under a plea deal — by Judge Naomi Buchwald, who lauded the victims for speaking out against the serial rapist.
“I want to commend the women who displayed such incredible courage in speaking up and participating in the judicial process. You were so brave and so articulate,” Buchwald said.
Before the sentence was imposed, nine women who were assaulted by Elkorany told the court –in person or over the phone — how the attacks had upended their lives and left them shattered.
“His crime destroyed my life, and I’ve spent the last six years trying to rebuild it, piece by painstaking piece,” the first woman, identified as “victim-1,” said.
“There is no part of me that has gone untouched,” she continued, occasionally pausing to compose herself and wipe tears from her eyes. “The trauma I experienced as a result of the assault spread like a cancer into every corner of my life, and I am still discovering areas it infected.”
The woman said she was a freelance journalist when she met Elkorany in Kurdistan in 2016, where he was working at the time as a communications specialist for the United Nations.
Karim Elkorany (not above) was sentenced to 15 years in prison — the maximum under a plea deal – by Judge Naomi Buchwald. AFP via Getty Images
She agreed to meet him one night at a restaurant frequented by aid workers and reporters, where he drugged her drink, she told the judge. From there, she recalls only “flashes” of memory of being driven to an apartment building’s garage and later being raped by the sadistic fiend.
Elkorany drugged and sexually assaulted 13 women over 17 years in Iraq, Egypt and US, prosecutors from the Southern District of New York said.
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Many of the attacks mirrored victim-1’s experience. Elkorany, who was “gregarious” and “charismatic” drew in young, attractive women with stories about their shared interest in the Middle East or humanitarian work.
He then drugged his victims and sexually assaulted them while they were partially or fully incapacitated.
Another victim, who met Elkorany in Egypt around 2010, turned and directly addressed her attack in the courtroom.
“Your story ends here today, Karim. You are and forever will be known as a predator and a rapist,” she said, reading from prepared remarks. “The women you victimized are some of the most talented and strongest women I know.”
The woman told Elkorany that the hardest part of the abuse was her memory being stolen from her through the drugs he used to incapacitate her.
“There’s still so much I don’t know. Which drugs did you use? And how much? I have scattered memories and flashbacks of your penetrating me, of your standing awkwardly at the side of your bed leering over me. Did you take pictures? Did you think about doing it again?” she said.
In a brief statement at the hearing, Elkorany apologized to his victims and said he’d work to better himself in prison.
“My actions will follow me for the rest of my life as they should. The rest of my life will itself be filled with regret and remorse,” he said.
Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the SDNY, praised the victims for speaking out.
“We express deep gratitude to all of the victims for their bravery in coming forward and remain committed to doing all we can to bring perpetrators like Elkorany to justice,” he said in a statement.