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Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lawrence man must face trial for rape charges

March 22, 2012

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A judge Thursday ordered a 26-year-old Lawrence man accused of molesting a female acquaintance to face a trial on rape and aggravated sexual battery charges.

The woman testified during a Thursday morning preliminary hearing that early on Dec. 31 she had fallen asleep next to the man in her bed at her residence in southern Lawrence.

She said later when she suddenly awoke the man was on top of her and that he went into the bathroom and tried to clean up around her when he returned.

“I woke up, and I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.

The woman acknowledged she did not notify Lawrence police until days later. Officer Michael Ramsey testified Thursday that the woman came to the police station twice, on Jan. 2 and Jan. 4, and called the suspect from her phone while allowing officers to record the calls. The woman told the defendant she was going to the doctor to take a pregnancy test to try to get him to explain what had happened, Ramsey said.

During one call the woman told him she was sleeping and didn’t know what was going on, but the man told her he believed she was “good with it,” the officer said.

“He did say he regretted it. He was adamant he wanted to change his life,” Ramsey said. “And change what he had been doing, but he did not want to do that from a jail cell.”

The suspect in a later interview with police said he had fallen asleep in bed next to the woman, his friend, and believed it was a consensual sexual encounter.

Defense attorney Sarah Swain during the hearing accused police of trying to trick her client into providing information through the recorded phone calls. Ramsey said it was a technique used to see if police can obtain conversational statements.

A trial is scheduled for November.

The Journal-World generally does not identify sex crime suspects unless they are convicted.

Philip Sieve, a retired Wyandotte County chief judge, was appointed to hear the case because the alleged victim is a family member of a court employee.

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