A Quebec woman who was the victim of a 2012 acid attack by an ex-boyfriend who was conditionally released Thursday, says the trauma of the incident continues to haunt her.
Tanya St-Arnauld suffered horrible chemical burns to about 70 per cent of her body when her then-boyfriend, Nikolas Stefanatos, splashed a bucket of corrosive cleaning product containing acid on her during an argument. Stefanatos pleaded guilty to the attack, and was given a 57-month prison term in 2014. But with time already served, he had only 16 months remaining.
Stefanatos was released with parole conditions on Thursday. St. Arnauld said police have assured her those conditions will protect her.
"It's not been a long sentence, but that’s what the authorities decided upon, that's what the judge decided upon, the lawyers, and everything," St-Arnauld told CTV Montreal on the day of her ex-boyfriend's release. "I respect their decision."
Since the attack, St-Arnauld has undergone multiple surgeries and procedures, including some in the U.S. In 2013, she appeared on "Anderson Live" in New York City, where she received the news that a Florida-based dermatologist would fly her down for laser surgery to treat her scars.
But despite the treatments, St-Arnauld said her invisible scars will likely never heal.
"(I'm) always watching over my shoulder, always being stressed of getting hurt, like, having to go through (the) pain again," she said.
St-Arnauld said she has considered moving, but her family, including her son and current boyfriend, live in Quebec.
She said she hopes Stefanatos' time in prison has helped to reform him.
"I pray every night," said St-Arnauld. "I want to believe in second chances and getting better."
St-Arnauld said she plans to undergo more surgeries and continues to see a therapist for the emotional scars left by the attack.
With a report from CTV Montreal