Ocean City Today

Lopez, Bell sentenced to jail for 2017 taped rape of local

By Brian Gilliland | Feb 08, 2018

(Feb. 9, 2018) Worcester County Circuit Court Judges Newton Jackson and Thomas Groton, during different proceedings on separate days, said the same two things about Isaac Lopez, 22, and Taylor Bell, 24, both of whom were convicted of charges stemming from Lopez’s attack on an Ocean City woman last year while Bell recorded a video of the assault.

First, the judges said, neither of them showed much remorse during trial and second, they were both very lucky to be getting the sentences they were getting.

Lopez was convicted of felony rape, two felony sexual assaults and assault in the second degree. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail, which was reduced to 18 months by the judge, followed by three years of supervised probation. Lopez will have to register as a Tier 3 sex offender for the rest of his life and was ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Bell pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and publishing/distributing obscene material, for which he received 18 months in jail but was reduced to 90 days by the judge. He also will serve two years of supervised probation and a no-contact order with the victim. He will not have to register as a sex offender.

Bell was acquainted with the victim, whom he had met a summer or two earlier in the resort.

In April 2017, according to testimony in the Lopez trial, Bell and Lopez attended a grand opening party for a restaurant in Ocean City where they met the victim’s group. As the night wore on, the group thinned to Lopez, Bell and the victim at a condominium where the men were staying.

The victim eventually decided to go to sleep, fully clothed with her purse still strapped across her shoulders. She woke up some time later, she said during the trial, because of a light shining in her eyes, which was presumably from Bell’s phone as he took photos and video of Lopez assaulting her.

Leaving the condo, the victim flagged down a police officer. Bell and Lopez were arrested later.

Lopez contended the victim fell asleep during a consensual act, and he didn’t realize it at the time because the room was dark.

“Do you know what you did to this girl?” Jackson asked Lopez. “You treated her like an animal or a piece of meat. There are lots of people in this room who were your age that drank too much and didn’t do what you did. Nothing excuses this.”

Lopez apologized to the court.

“I am absolutely sorry. I feel terrible. I’m guilty. I can’t hide that from you,” he said. “I can’t take back what I’ve done but I have to live a life without alcohol.”

Bell told the court he thought he was witnessing a consensual act, and filmed it thinking it would be something he could use “to embarrass my friend.”

Groton was unmoved.

“You did what you did because you thought it would be funny,” he said. Groton said Bell’s laughter, heard on the video, was evidence of this. Anyone with any concern for another human being would not act in the way Bell did on that night, the judge said.

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