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West Bath man sentenced to 25 years in prison for kidnapping, rape, assault in Phippsburg

Corey Ater was sentenced to 25 years for 'horrific' April 2, 2019, incident in which he beat, tortured, repeatedly raped woman in several locations.

WEST BATH, Maine — A West Bath man convicted of kidnapping, beating, and repeatedly raping his ex-wife in April 2019 was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison.

Corey Ater, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of Class A felony gross sexual assault, one count of Class B felony domestic violence aggravated assault, and one count each of burglary, criminal restraint, and violation of conditions of release, Sagadahoc County District Attorney Natasha Irving said in a release.

Under terms of a plea agreement, Ater agreed to be sentenced to 15 to 25 years, and Justice Daniel Billings on Wednesday imposed the longest possible sentence -- and the longest he had ever imposed for a non-homicide conviction, according to the release.

Early in the morning on April 2, 2019, Ater broke into the West Bath home he shared with his former wife and three-year-old child, threatened the woman with a knife, and then over 16 to 18 hours beat, tortured, and raped her repeatedly at the home and at a Phippsburg camp, where he also strangled her until she was unconscious.

RELATED: Woman assaulted with knife in front of 4-year-old

She escaped to a neighbor's house just before 6:30 p.m. and called 911. 

Sheriff's deputies rescued the child and arrested Ater.

The woman was taken to Maine Medical Center and treated for a broken nose, bruises to her face, head, and body, burns from a lighter, and a significant cut from a knife to her hand.

RELATED: Domestic violence survivor speaks out after finding out ex-husband could be released from jail

In September, Ater's ex-wife spoke in a video posted on Facebook about the abuse she endured after discovering he might be released from jail.

"The beginning of our marriage ... our relationship seemed like a dream. It seemed perfect," Melissa Ater said. Then she realized she was in an abusive marriage.

While Ater was on bail and ordered not to contact his ex-wife, he communicated with her through a mutual friend and "significantly" pressured her not to cooperate with investigators, Irving said.

Describing Ater's crimes as "horrific," Irving said Thursday, "This sentence is a testament to her incredible bravery and the support she received from New Hope for Women, her loving family, the professionalism of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department, and the dedication, hard work, and expertise of my team in the District Attorney’s office. Tragically, this sentence is also a testament to the unfathomable brutality of the crime itself. If you or a loved one are the victim of domestic violence, please come forward, please find strength in her bravery, and know that we will fight for you.”