Standing before a packed courtroom - a crowd that included beating victim Joseph Milone - Allen and Cartwright told Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Paul R. Porreca that they deeply regretted their actions. Both their attorneys argued that the men would not commit crimes in the future.
Head bowed, wearing shackles over a black suit, Allen addressed the court as his father, mother and sister watched tearfully from the audience.
"When I went down to the beach that night," Allen said, "my only intention was to release some of the pressures that I was facing up to that point. I know what I did was wrong. I wish that if there was any way I could, I would like to take back the events that happened that night.
"I only hope that (the woman) and Mr. Milone would someday find it in their hearts to forgive me for what happened."
But Porreca told Allen, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound former offensive tackle, that the sentence had to reflect "the vulnerability of the victim."
"I am satisfied that the conduct engaged in that night was under circumstances that are quite unlikely to reoccur," Porreca said. Those considerations, however, had to be weighed against "the serious harm" inflicted on the woman and Milone, he said.
Both men will be eligible for parole after serving one-third of their sentences.
Allen's attorney, Lloyd D. Levenson, had argued that the Margate incident was just "five minutes out of Allen's 23 years of life."
Allen and Cartwright "had had too much to drink and too much partying," he said. Calling Allen "an extraordinary young man who made an extraordinary mistake," Levenson said his client was "a good person who did a bad thing. . . . It is improbable that he would ever commit a crime again."
Albert J. Garofolo, Atlantic County first assistant prosecutor, saw it differently.
"Allen did nothing to stop the beating of Joseph Milone," Garofolo said, but instead "took advantage of the assault." He said of Cartwright's role: ''It was a totally unprovoked attack."
Garofolo said the Massachusetts woman had suffered a "post-trauma stress disorder" common to Vietnam veterans.
She "has had recurring nightmares, she has crying spells and deep depression, and she stopped going to school. . . . She stays at home," he said.
Allen, a native of Cincinnati, was a first-round choice in the 1985 National Football League draft. He was cut by the Eagles the week before his arrest in October. The team said the decision to drop the former Indiana University lineman was unrelated to the criminal investigation going on at the time.
During the attack, Milone, of South Ninth Street in Philadelphia, suffered three broken ribs, a punctured lung, and an eye injury that required reconstructive surgery. Cartwright testified in February that he was told by Allen to keep up the beating so that Milone could not come to his companion's aid.
"I can't take it back, but if I could, I would," Cartwright said yesterday.
Milone said of the sentence: "I'm happy, I'm satisfied, I think it was just. I really felt bad for those guys. I felt bad his parents were here. It's a shame, but they got what they deserved."