Affidavit: Woman said friend assaulted her in Lawrence bar, raped her at lake

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Steven W. Seyfarth

A woman’s report that a friend sexually assaulted her in a bar bathroom and then at Clinton Lake later the same night led to rape and other charges against the man, according to a law enforcement affidavit.

After requesting it from Douglas County District Court, the Journal-World on Friday received the affidavit in the case of Steven W. Seyfarth, 23, of Batavia, Ill., formerly of Lawrence.

On Feb. 7, Seyfarth was charged with two counts of rape, a felony, for allegedly assaulting a victim who was unconscious or physically powerless, according to the complaint. He’s also charged with two counts of sexual battery, a misdemeanor.

According to the affidavit, based on interviews by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Lawrence Police Department:

The encounters happened in early May 2017. The woman went to a hospital to get a sexual assault exam about a week later but did not report the incidents to law enforcement until early September 2017.

She told investigators that Seyfarth was a friend from church whom she’d known about 2 1/2 years.

The night of the assaults, they were out in downtown Lawrence with several other friends. Everyone in the group was drinking, and they’d been at two other bars before settling into a table at Quinton’s Bar and Deli, 615 Massachusetts St.

The woman told police that Seyfarth had been touchy with her throughout the night and was touching her under the table at Quinton’s. She said she brushed his hand away and went to the bathroom “to try and get Seyfarth to stop touching her,” the affidavit said.

When she came out of the bathroom, he was in the hall, kissed her and tried to talk her into going in the men’s room with him, she told investigators. She said she “made it clear” she did not want to but that he pushed her into the bathroom, then into a stall and locked it.

She said that as he assaulted her in the stall she felt shocked and confused about what was happening, telling investigators, “I just froze,” “I just didn’t move,” and “I didn’t do anything.” She said that at some points during the encounter she told Seyfarth no when he tried to have sex with her.

The woman said a friend of hers suddenly slammed open the bathroom door, grabbed her and told her they were going home.

That friend drove her home, while Seyfarth and a friend of his took an Uber home from the bar.

After she got home, the woman got a text from Seyfarth saying “sorry.” She said she texted him back because she wanted to talk about what happened and then about 1:20 a.m. drove to his house and picked him up. “I just wanted to fix everything,” she told investigators.

He suggested they go to Clinton Lake to talk, she said. She said the second series of assaults occurred there.

She said Seyfarth made advances and asked to have sex with her. She said she told him she didn’t believe in sex before marriage, including oral sex.

She said he pulled off her clothing and raped her, which she described as painful.

The woman told investigators, “I felt like he wasn’t listening to me,” and “I couldn’t stop him.” She said she only remembered the assault in segments because she “checked out.”

She said they walked back to her car and she drove Seyfarth home. She said he told her that he was on anti-depressants and “probably shouldn’t be mixing alcohol with his medications.”

Investigators interviewed Seyfarth in February 2018.

He said the sexual contact at the bar and the lake was consensual, though he denied having intercourse with the woman at the lake, saying he was too drunk to do so, according to the affidavit.

Seyfarth acknowledged that the woman didn’t seem “happy” about him touching her under the table at the bar but that he thought she was interested in him because they’d kissed several months earlier. He said he himself was on his way to the restroom when he crossed paths with her in the hall and that they both went into the men’s room together.

“Seyfarth felt that everything was consensual and stated that (the woman) never told him to stop or indicated that she was not wanting anything to happen,” investigators wrote.

Seyfarth told investigators he was still intoxicated and could not remember very many specifics about what happened at the lake, including who removed the woman’s clothes or his.

He told investigators that he sobered up and realized what they were doing was “not ok,” adding that it felt strange that she took him to a secluded area and started doing “things” to him when she was sober and knew he was still intoxicated. He said the woman never talked to him about her boundaries.

Seyfarth said that after the woman dropped him off at his house, they never spoke again.

The affidavit says the law enforcement investigation included Kansas Bureau of Investigation lab testing but doesn’t say what was tested.

Other than the woman saying everyone in the group had multiple beers that night and Seyfarth saying he believed she was sober at the lake, the affidavit doesn’t include details about the woman’s level of intoxication.

According to the affidavit, friends interviewed by law enforcement corroborated Seyfarth touching the woman at the bar and the two being in the bathroom together, though they said she came out on her own after her friend yelled at her to leave.

The woman’s friend said she told her about the incidents later, including saying that at some point during the assault she “shut down” and gave up on resisting, according to the affidavit.

The Journal-World reached out to Seyfarth’s attorneys, Adam Hall and Angela Keck, on Friday but did not immediately receive a response.

According to court records, Seyfarth is free on $50,000 bond. No trial date has been set.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd