Two survivors of sexual assault are celebrating after they found out the man who attacked them more than 27 years ago will stay in prison.
David A. Graczyk was denied parole earlier this week following a parole hearing at the end of February.
Ramona Bantle-Fahy, who was kidnapped and raped by Graczyk in 1992, first spoke out about how he abused her during his trial in 1993.
He was sentenced to minimum of 25 years in prison, and thanks to ongoing efforts by Bantle-Fahy and her friend Jacqueline Dias, Graczyk continues to stay behind bars.
“I just wish I could dance,” Bantle-Fahy said Friday after learning her was denied parole.
She has been fighting for justice since the attack in 1992. She’s won her battles each time, including this most recent one.
Graczyk raped her then kidnapped her in the trunk of his car in Sardinia in ’92. She managed to escape from the car and ran for help in Delevan.
Recently, Graczyk became eligible for parole for a second time. A parole board denied him again.
“I’m so excited. You know, I was really counting on it to be this way, but things, I’ve been told, could go either way,” Bantle-Fahy said.
Jacqueline Dias says she was also sexually assaulted by Graczyk in the 80s but only came forward a few years ago. She, too, feels relief.
“I am so pleased because we don’t have to walk on eggshells,” Dias said.
The fight doesn’t end here. The women continue to work with New York lawmakers to change parole for certain violent crimes from every two years to every five years so that victims don’t have to go through the parole process as often.
“It doesn’t give the victims a lot of time. It’s like a year and a half later, and then you’re working on your next victim impact statement and reliving everything that has happened to you,” Dias said.
And whether parole is every two years or five, Bantle-Fahy is also working with the Office of Victims Services to change the detail required in the victim impact statements she and others submit.
“The first initial time, you have to write…live through what happened,” she explained. “But after the first time that you do an impact statement, the second year, or the second time, or five years or whenever it is again, you only have to say ‘I still want to keep them in there, I still feel the same.’ Two to three sentences.”
Friday, Bantle-Fahy wore the same heart-shaped “survivor” pin that she wore at Graczyk’s 1993 sentencing.
“I’ve always stood behind it, and I’m speaking for all those who can’t,” she said.
Graczyk served his first 25 years in Attica’s maximum security state prison. In 2017, he was transferred to Groveland Correctional Facility in Livingston County. He is convicted of sodomy, rape, kidnapping, and robbery.