Adrienne Bak Ortolano finally received justice last week when a jury convicted Alex Kelly of raping her eleven years before. After the conviction, the 27-year-old woman gave her first interview since the rape in 1986. She came forward because she wanted to give other rape victims courage and show the world she is not ashamed of who she is. “It’s a positive feeling to be able to stand up and accuse your attacker, and to tell the truth the way it happened,” she said.
In the 11 years between Kelly’s crime and conviction, Ortolano showed perseverance in fighting to put her attacker behind bars. Kelly fled to Europe in 1987 and lived as a ski bum off of his parents’ money to avoid the trial for raping Ortolano and a 17-year-old from Stamford, CT. Ortolano hired a lawyer to find her attacker in 1994, and Kelly turned himself in to the authorities the following year. She rejected offers for plea bargains in 1987 and 1996 and sat through one trial which ended in a deadlocked jury last fall. When she heard the jury pronounce Kelly “guilty” last week, she said, “The first thing I thought was thank God, thank God the world knows the truth.”