Maintaining his innocence and saying his conviction was “ironic,” Andrew Allan Pace was sentenced Tuesday to never again see the outside of a prison for drugging, restraining and raping a 16-year-old boy.
PANAMA CITY — Maintaining his innocence and saying his conviction was “ironic,” Andrew Allan Pace was sentenced Tuesday to never again see the outside of a prison for drugging, restraining and raping a 16-year-old boy he’d lured to his home with promises of a modeling career.
Pace, 65, displayed no reaction when he learned of his fate. He had been convicted last month of sexual battery, unlawful sexual acts with a minor and false imprisonment after neighbors in the affluent Delwood Point community in May 2016 watched in shock as a naked and distraught 16-year-old fled Pace’s home. Before Circuit Judge Allen Register sentenced him to serve the maximum combined sentence of life plus 20 years in prison, Pace maintained that he had been set up by the teen.
Register reminded Pace that a jury found otherwise before telling him that the sentence was based on two factors. One was the testimony of others that Pace was “careful and calculated” in gaining the trust of the minor with promises of a modeling career. And the second was Pace’s own testimony that indicated he then used that trust to exploit the teenager’s situation.
“You were aware of the particular difficulties in this young man’s life between himself and his parents,” Register told Pace. “Instead of using your influence to provide him with positive guidance in his life – to help him see himself to be a young man of worth and promise – you used the trust you had gained to create an opportunity for you to use this vulnerable young man for your own pleasures.”
Register then sentenced Pace to the maximum punishment for each of the charges and designated him a sexual predator. However, during the duration of Tuesday’s sentence hearing, Pace and his defense attorney maintained his innocence, at times referring to the teenage victim as the “alleged victim.”
“Your honor, I’m innocent of these charges,” Pace told the court. “I did not at all even sexually touch this young man, much less rape him – rape is a violent act, and I am not a violent person.”
Pace said the accusation that he’d drugged the teen was “particularly ironic,” because he has counseled young people in the past about drug use and got them to quit using, he said.
“I’ve never done drugs, I’ve never bought drugs, I know nothing about drugs, there was no proof of drugs,” Pace added. “So I’m innocent. My father God in Heaven knows I’m innocent.”
Pace indicated he would be appealing the jury’s verdict and sentence.
Last month, jurors heard evidence that Pace had pursued the minor over the course of about a year with promises of a modeling career. On May 20, 2016, the juvenile finally agreed to meet Pace to follow that dream.
Pace and the teen agreed to meet for lunch before going back to Pace’s house in the affluent Delwood Point neighborhood to drink alcohol and take clothing measurements. At one point, the teen accepted a shot of liquor from Pace and became incapacitated to resist Pace’s advances.
When he regained consciousness, the victim had been tied to a bed with Pace raping him.
The teen then fled Pace’s house wearing nothing more than a couple of rings and a watch put on him by Pace.
At trial, Pace’s defense attorney, Stanley Peacock, agreed modeling aspirations drew the two together, and lunch and drinks followed. But what happened instead, Peacock argued, was that Pace became ensnared in a plot to extort him for his wealth.
A key piece of evidence in the trial was DNA found on Pace. He argued that the DNA belonging to the teen had been transmitted from taking clothing measurements when Pace went to use the bathroom. The prosecution, however, called a DNA expert to testify that the amount of DNA present was too abundant to be “secondary transfer.” Her conclusion was that it came from the prolonged contact of intercourse.
Jurors spent more than two hours deliberating before finding Pace guilty as charged.