‘Monster’: Victim of VHS rape speaks out
A woman who was unknowingly filmed while she was sexually assaulted 30 years ago has called her rapist a “monster and a predator” after his estranged wife found a VHS tape depicting the crime that led to his conviction.
Boghos “Paul” Parizian, 59, was found guilty by a NSW District Court jury in February of 11 counts of sexual intercourse without consent.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and faced a trial where the hour-long footage was played to the jury, showing Parizian’s interaction with the woman.
During a sentence hearing on Friday, Crown prosecutor Alex Morris tendered a victim impact statement provided by the woman who said Parizian “destroyed” her life.
“Paul, you are a predator and a monster,” the statement reads.
“I wish I’d never met you. You destroyed my life as a young woman.”
The victim said Parizian threatened her with the tape after their relationship ended, saying he would show it to people if she didn’t resume a relationship with him.
The woman said she was “so horrified” she attempted to take her own life.
“When the police told me the tape was real, I was again horrified,” she wrote.
“Watching that tape and the things that you said and did to me was painful.”
The woman said she waited “seven long years” to have her day in court and suffered anxiety while waiting for the verdict.
“Today, I can start to rebuild knowing you will be held to account,” the victim said.
“There is no penalty great enough for a person like you capable of such a horrific assault. You deserve everything you get.”
Judge Jane Culver on Friday said the victim showed signs of being drugged in the footage.
Parizian’s defence barrister Chris Watson told the court there was “limbo” for many years, with the tape only coming “to the light of day once there was a breakdown in the offender’s marital relationship”.
At trial, Mr Watson argued the woman had consented to the sexual acts in the video.
Documents tendered to the court revealed Parizian claimed the pair were “role playing” and the woman was “playing like she didn’t want it”.
In the years following the rape, Parizian threatened the victim with the video in an attempt to get her to begin a relationship with him and for financial gain, according to court documents.
The video, labelled “Big Mama” was uncovered by Parizian’s estranged wife Mona Bennett in 2009 in her garage.
By this time Ms Bennett had separated from Parizian and kicked him out, but he insisted he needed to collect some items from the house.
The tape wasn’t handed to police until 2015, prompting detectives to find the victim and lay charges.
“It (the tape) was handed off to other family members, copies were made,” Mr Watson told the court.
“Strong evidence was not provided to police immediately … It was handed around and stored for a period of time as if it was an ace card held over the offender’s head.”
The court was told the woman went out to dinner with Parizian in the early 1990s and he had offered to buy her an alcoholic drink, but she said no and asked for orange juice instead.
It is the Crown case that Parizian went up to the bar and was “there for a period of time” getting the drink, where it is believed the spiking occurred.
The woman suddenly began to feel sick during the meal and believed Parizian was driving her home, but found herself at his house in Liverpool after he said his father was sick and needed to check on him.
She couldn’t remember anything else and had no memory of how she got home.
Judge Culver said the “elephant in the room” was that the tape “so evidently showed” the victim was “affected by something”.
At trial Mr Watson argued the woman had been “role-playing” in the video, but the notion was rejected by the jury.
“The victim appears on that tape in a way that can surely from a common sense point-of-view only be understood, once you rule out role-play, in the context of her being significantly affected by something,” Judge Culver said.
“I think it’s fairly startlingly clear.”
Judge Culver told the court the mattress in Parizian’s bedroom had been “lined up in a certain way to facilitate the recording”.
She told the court the victim gave evidence which pointed to “features of drink spiking”.
But Mr Watson rejected the spiking claims, saying there was a “lack of evidence” in the theory.
Crown prosecutor Alex Morris agreed with the judge and said there had been evidence in the trial from the victim.
“In the transcript the complainant does say to him (Parizian) ‘That’s why you had me drink so you can do what you want with me’,” Mr Morris said.
Mr Morris said the woman did not know for sure she was being recorded, but was “highly suspicious” at the time of the offence.
However, the court was told she had no recollection the sexual assault occurred.
The court was told Parizian had shown “limited understanding of prosocial values” since the offending and had hostility towards women.
“He seems to believe women’s intentions are malevolent, saying 90 per cent of women are gold diggers,” Mr Morris said.
Parizian will face court in May for sentence.