One Survivor’s Message to Others: “I Hope People Know They Are Not Alone”

BOSTON, January 11, 2018—As a Westwood man was sentenced to prison for stalking a woman to her Fenway home and raping her two years ago, the survivor recounted her ordeal and a message of support to others who live through sexual assault.

A Suffolk Superior Court jury on Dec. 20 convicted MICHAEL PURPURA (D.O.B. 6/22/79) of aggravated rape, indecent assault and battery, strangulation or suffocation, unarmed burglary, and larceny over $250.  At his sentencing yesterday afternoon, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office recommended a term of 20 to 25 years in prison to be followed by five years of probation. Judge Peter Muse imposed a term of 15 to 18 years in state prison. 

Prior to sentencing, Muse heard a powerful impact statement from the woman Purpura attacked.

“It has taken me over two years to understand and realize that I am allowed to walk home by myself on a Monday night,” she told the court. “Everyone is allowed to go on a date, to walk home, to buy groceries, and to talk on the phone …. For a while I felt like this was my fault, but that isn’t the case. I didn’t choose this. Everyone makes their own choices, and Michael Purpura’s choices were not my own, and I’m finally accepting that his choices were not my fault.

“I don’t regret coming forward as I hope it will bring me closure and, more importantly, I hope this will prevent other people from being treated the way that I was treated on the 15th of September, 2015, because, honestly, no one deserves that. I hope this has helped others, and I hope that people know they are not alone. You’d be surprised about who is here to support you, myself included. I want to end this statement by thanking the ADAs, victim witness advocate, judge, and jury. You have helped shed a small amount of light and hope on the worst thing that has ever happened to me, and I am forever grateful.”

During the course of the December trial, Assistant District Attorneys Amy Martin and Elizabeth Riley of the DA’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit proved that on the night of Sept. 14, 2015, and into Sept. 15, 2015, Purpura was captured on security camera as he exited the Star Market on Kilmarnock Street and paced in the parking lot and watched the store’s front door until he observed the victim exit.  He then followed the victim to her apartment building, ambushing her inside her apartment.  There, prosecutors proved, Purpura threatened, assaulted, and repeatedly sexually assaulted the victim.  He then forced her to shower and took her phone as he fled.

The victim was able to call 911 and she was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where a rape kit was completed.

Boston Police detectives used records maintained by the market to determine that the individual in the security camera images had used a credit card to make a purchase; that credit card was linked to Purpura.  In addition to the surveillance camera images that offered the first significant lead in the case and the store records that gave it direction, a DNA sample obtained from Purpura provided a forensic link to the assault.

Jurors deliberated for about a day before convicting him of all charges.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. While the victims of any crime are asked to call 911 in an emergency, survivors of sexual violence can also call their local rape crisis center for free and confidential services and to discuss their options. Support is available for all survivors of sexual violence, regardless of whether they wish to take part in a criminal prosecution. Services by city and town can be found at

In Suffolk County, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center offers a free and confidential 24-hour hotline at 800-841-8371. The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center provides medical accompaniment and many other free services to victims of rape and sexual assault. Suffolk victim-witness advocates can assist in referrals to BARCC and a wide array of non-profit service providers who can offer additional support and services.

Anne Kelley-McCarthy was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate.  Purpura was represented by Gary Pelletier.





All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.