Archive for Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lawrence man ordered to stand trial in sexual assault case; alleged victim says some evidence of attack now gone

March 14, 2017


A 43-year old Lawrence man has been ordered to stand trial on allegations of sexual assault from an incident that occurred in January.

Douglas County District Court Judge James McCabria ordered the man to stand trial after hearing from the alleged victim in the case, a Lawrence woman.

At one point during her testimony, shifting between tears and rage, the woman said investigators wouldn't find DNA evidence on her clothes because she cleaned them with a sanitary wipe she found in a hospital room.

The woman said she was in the hospital to receive an examination after her off-and-on boyfriend sexually assaulted her inside the trailer they shared. Soon after the examination, police collected her clothes.

When defense attorney Michael Clark asked the woman why she wanted to clean up any possible evidence, she replied, "We were always supposed to have each other's backs."

The man was arrested on Feb. 13. He faces one felony charge of aggravated criminal sodomy and misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and criminal deprivation of property.

The woman, 31, appeared in Douglas County District Court Tuesday afternoon and testified to her recollection of the incident.

The morning of Jan. 19, the woman said, she returned to the trailer that she, her son and the man shared in the 1400 block of East 15th Street.

The woman said she had spent the night in a friend's trailer playing video games, but when she returned the man "assumed" the two slept together.

"It got ugly real quick," she said.

The two dropped the woman's son off at school and returned to the trailer, she said. Soon, the man began to beat her, she alleged.

The woman said she tried many times to leave. The man took her phone, she said, though she was able to grab his phone "so I could call somebody, anybody, to get out of there."

During the attack, the woman said the man forced her clothes off and sexually assaulted her.

When Clark asked if the woman was frightened during the incident, she replied, "It's almost cracked me, sir. So yes, I was a little scared."

During the struggle, the woman said she was able to grab a nearby jar and hit the man in the head. Eventually she was able to escape and call police, she said.

The man was arrested nearly a month later.

Citing the nature of the reported crime, Lawrence Police Sgt. Amy Rhoads declined to answer questions about the incident on Jan. 20.

On Feb. 17, McCabria ordered the man's arrest affidavit — a document filed by police justifying an arrest — sealed.

In his order sealing the document, McCabria said he found releasing the information would jeopardize the "physical, mental or emotional safety or well-being of the alleged victim."

After the woman testified in court, McCabria said he believed enough evidence existed to order the man to stand trial. He scheduled the trial to begin on June 5.

The man is currently held in the Douglas County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond. The Journal-World is not releasing the identity of the man because by doing so it may identify the alleged victim in the case.

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