Jury convicts man in rape case in which woman said she was attacked as a teen while bystander refused to help
photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World
Story updated at 6:30 p.m. Friday:
A Douglas County jury on Friday convicted a Lawrence man of raping a teen who said another man in the room refused to help as she was being attacked.
Ray Charles Atkins Jr., 22, was convicted of one felony count of rape related to an incident on July 19, 2019, in the 2900 block of Belle Haven Drive. Charging documents alleged that Atkins assaulted the woman when he was 19 and she was 17.
The trial lasted three and a half days, during which the jury heard the woman describe an attack in which she pleaded unsuccessfully for another man to help her, as the Journal-World previously reported. The jury also heard testimony from the woman’s family, forensic nurses and law enforcement personnel from both Lawrence and Wichita, where the woman is from. Atkins himself declined to testify.
The woman testified during the trial that she had visited her sister, a student at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence and met Atkins at a party. She said she and Atkins had consensual sex the first night they met after drinking but that she intended to decline further involvement with Atkins because he had been too rough.
Over the next week, Atkins and the woman spent time in the same circle of people. She said during that week she was hospitalized with a seizure that left her in a weakened state. She said that while she was left alone with Atkins and a man named Vonnie, Atkins assaulted her. She said that she asked Vonnie for help but that he replied “that’s not my problem” and left the room.
Atkins’ defense attorney, Nicholas David, said during his closing argument that reasonable doubt existed, among other reasons, because of discrepancies in the testimony of the woman and her sister. But Senior Assistant District Attorney Seth Brackman argued that the woman’s testimony had been consistent throughout the investigation and legal proceedings.
The jury started deliberating at noon on Friday and reached a verdict shortly after 6 p.m.
Atkins is currently free on a $10,000 bond. He was not taken into custody after the verdict was read; the state asked to revoke his bond, but Judge James Fleetwood denied the request.
Atkins will be required to register as a sex offender. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 19.