A former CIA station chief was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison Thursday for sexually abusing an unconscious woman at the mansion the U.S. government provided for him in Algeria and later going on a cocaine-fueled run from the law.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle went nearly two years beyond what prosecutors had recommended in sentencing former spy Andrew Warren, 43. She said it seemed he thought he could get away with the crime because he had diplomatic immunity and his victim was a married Muslim who would be unlikely to report the crime for fear she'd become an outcast.
But the victim, an international businesswoman with dual citizenship in Algeria and a European country who had known Warren professionally, reported the crime to officials at the U.S. Embassy seven months afterward. She said Warren invited her to his home in February 2008 and prepared drinks for her, and she started to feel ill as she began drinking the second. She said she fell in and out of consciousness and lost all muscle control, was unable to stop Warren from removing her clothes and having sexual contact with her.
Warren initially said the sexual contact was consensual, but prosecutors said another Algerian woman had told a similar story. That woman said she fell unconscious after consuming drinks Warren prepared during a party at his home in September 2007, but she couldn't say what happened while she was unconscious. Warren still maintains they had consensual sex, and he was not charged in that incident.
Investigators who searched Warren's 30-room mansion in Algiers, where his attorney said he was living undercover, found many drugs, including Xanax and valium, which are sometimes used as date rape drugs. Warren denies that he drugged either of the women. Investigators also found a book on investigations of sexual assault and a computer with pornography downloaded.
Warren was fired from his job, but things only got worse after he returned to the United States. After he didn't show up for a hearing, federal agents went searching for him near his home in Norfolk, Va., and found that a neighbor had filed a report that he exposed himself to her. Prosecutors say the agents eventually found him high on crack in a motel room with a semi-automatic pistol in his shorts pocket. He was taken to jail, where he's remained since.
Warren pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact and a gun charge, and federal sentencing guidelines recommended 27 months to 33 months behind bars. But judges have authority to sentence outside the guidelines, and Huvelle said he deserved more time to reflect the seriousness of the offense and to protect society. She said she didn't think Warren understood the damage he had done to his victim, whose identity was protected by the court.
"I think you took a calculated risk that she wouldn't report it," Huvelle said.
Warren's attorney, William Martin, had argued that his client suffered from post-traumatic stress from combat experiences, the details of which were classified and kept under seal in court filings. Martin asked for a sentence of one year to reflect his service to his country and allow him to get mental health and substance abuse treatment not widely available in prison. "He's a sick man," Martin said. "I've watched him spiral downward."
Warren told Huvelle he was sorry and deserved a second chance. "I utterly failed as a human being," Warren said. The judge was not swayed, although she acknowledged he had had an excellent career.
"It's rare that the court is confronted with someone who has achieved so much and fallen so far," she said.