At trial of Lawrence man, woman describes being raped as teen, devastation that followed
photo by: Mike Yoder
Occasionally fighting back tears, a woman told a jury on Tuesday how she was raped by a man she met at a college bar — an incident that her family said has cast a shadow over her life.
“She would have nightmares and get in bed with me,” the mother said of her daughter, who was 17 when the alleged rape took place on Sept. 11, 2016. “She hasn’t done that since she was a baby.”
Jurors heard testimony from the woman, her mother and her cousin, who was with her at the bar that night, at the trial of Albert N. Wilson in Douglas County District Court. Wilson, 23, of Lawrence, is charged with two counts of rape: one for allegedly lifting the teen’s skirt and assaulting her inside the Jayhawk Cafe, known as the Hawk, at 1340 Ohio St., and one for allegedly forcing himself on her at his home in the 1300 block of Kentucky Street.
After the incident, the woman said she began having panic attacks regularly. Often, she said, she was unable to eat or sleep, and she lost about 20 pounds.
“She would cry all of the time and couldn’t go to school, which is really not like her,” her mother told the jury. “She would be in the bathroom half the time throwing up or hiding (while at school). Crowds freaked her out. She couldn’t be in the gym during assemblies anymore.”
The woman, who is now 20 and a sophomore at an out-of-state college, told the jury that she was visiting her cousin in Lawrence on the weekend of Sept. 10, 2016. They were drinking with some other women before going to the Hawk, where she said she wasn’t carded. She said she was stumbling and didn’t have “control” of herself and that she hadn’t been drunk like that before.
Wilson then approached her inside the bar, she said, and they started talking and moved to another area, away from her cousin. He kissed her and then assaulted her, she said.
Wilson then asked the woman if she wanted to come to his place and spend the night. She refused, telling him she needed to find her cousin, but Wilson persisted and convinced her to come with him outside to call her cousin, she said.
But the woman said that instead of stopping outside the bar, Wilson led her to his house, which was a few blocks away. She said she was too drunk to realize what was going on and that she did not know where they were going and was concentrating on her feet to make sure she was walking correctly.
The woman laughed in court when describing how she could not walk straight, but when she began recounting how Wilson led her to his room, her demeanor sharply changed — she struggled to keep from crying and had to take breaks during her testimony.
The woman said that when she entered Wilson’s house, she was holding her phone and attempting to text her cousin, but that she dropped it while they were climbing the stairs. She said she then realized what his intentions were and began to tell him she was too drunk and needed to leave to find her cousin. But Wilson led her up the stairs into his room, she said, and sat her on the edge of a bed. She said she felt too dizzy to get up and just “froze” lying on the bed.
photo by: Mike Yoder
When asked by Forrest Lowry, Wilson’s appointed attorney, why she did not put up a struggle, the woman said she felt she could not fight it anymore because Wilson would not listen to her when she said no. She said she lay on the bed and disengaged from what was happening.
The woman said Wilson began kissing her on the neck and chest. She said he then raped her while she looked away, either at the ceiling or to the side of the room.
Later on during Tuesday’s testimony, jurors saw photos of bruises on her inner thighs. She said Wilson inflicted the injuries during the assault.
When it was over, she said, she got up and attempted to leave the house. She said she realized Wilson was following her when she stepped outside and he told her she was walking in the wrong direction.
While they were walking back to the bar, the woman said, Wilson looked at her and told her she “looked like I was about to cry.
“I felt like he was taunting me,” the woman said in court through tears.
Once she arrived back at the bar, she said, she turned around to see Wilson was gone.
The woman’s cousin, who testified Tuesday afternoon, said she found the woman in front of the bar on the verge of crying.
“I’ve never seen her look like that before,” she said. “She said ‘I’m not OK.'”
The cousin, who was in a sorority at the University of Kansas, said she then took the alleged victim to speak with a sorority member who had received special training to help victims of sexual assault. However, the alleged victim decided she was too tired and embarrassed to do anything immediately and wanted to go to her cousin’s dorm to sleep.
In the morning, the teen returned to her home in the Kansas City area trying to forget the events of the previous night, she said. But while preparing for a family member’s birthday party, the teen’s mother found her in their backyard in the fetal position, shaking.
The mother also said she had never seen her daughter act that way before. At first, the mother said, the teen did not want to talk about what happened, but eventually she said she had been raped.
“I started to cry and I told her we needed to get her to the hospital,” the mother said.
The teen went to a Kansas City-area hospital for a sexual assault exam. She reported the incident to Lawrence police on Oct. 5, 2016, and Wilson was charged on Oct. 11, 2017.
The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
photo by: Mike Yoder