Former student accused of sexual assault testifies in own defense

    2354
    print

    Warning: This story contains graphic details that some may find disturbing.

    Jury deliberations are expected to resume Monday in the trial of a former TCU student charged in 2012 with sexual assault.

    Joseph Dowd, 21, was charged after a student told police she was assaulted by Dowd while they were alone in his locked room in Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity house.

    Dowd was a student and member of FIJI at TCU from fall 2011 to fall 2012, said Lisa Albert, TCU director of communications.

    Dowd’s trial began Wednesday and both he and his accuser testified. The woman’s name isn’t being used, because TCU360 doesn’t usually publish the names of accusers in sexual assault cases.

    According to the Star-Telegram, Dowd’s accuser told jurors that she was raped in Dowd’s locked room. She also testified that at one point Dowd held her down by her throat, before throwing her face down on a couch, the Star-Telegram reported.

    On Friday, Dowd and three members of the FIJI fraternity told a different story.

    Medical testimony also disputed the sexual assault allegations.

    Sean Garcia, a junior geology major, testified that Dowd reconnected with the woman, an old Frog Camp friend, at a Christmas mixer in Dec. 2012 with FIJI and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

    Garcia said Dowd exchanged his contact information with the woman.

    Garcia said that Dowd told him he texted the woman the next day and said they should meet up that night for an informal gathering at the FIJI house.

    Garcia testified he was with Dowd when he drove to The Cottages—an off-campus apartment complex—to pick up the woman and a group of friends.

    He said when they arrived at the FIJI house, they moved to Dowd’s room.

    Another fraternity member to testify was David Luczak, a senior economics major.

    He was sick so, he didn’t drink while he was with Dowd and the rest of the group.

    “It wasn’t unusual that girls were in the frat house with Joe, but it was interesting because of the way [she] was behaving,” Luczak said in his testimony. “The reason I went up to Joe’s room in the first place was because [she] was sitting on top of Joe’s lap with her arm around him—Joe hadn’t had many girls over like that.”

    Luczak said that he, the group of FIJIs, and the group of women slowly left the room as Dowd and the woman became more intimate with each other.

    Dowd told jurors that “as [his accuser] began talking and began becoming more animated, she put her hand on [his] arm and said she wanted to talk about Frog Camp.”

    Dowd said that they began kissing immediately as people left the room. He said he then went to lock the door and turn off the lights to create a sense of “privacy.”

    Dowd said that the two engaged in “completely consensual sexual intercourse.” On three occasions when people knocked on his door, neither of the two made a sound, he said.

    Dowd said he was spooked after the second knock and lost interest in resuming sexual activity.

    “She asked me what was wrong and came up to me and started trying to arouse me,” he said.

    “There was a third knock on the door and I saw her sisters while I was looking through the peephole,” he said. “I told her I didn’t think I could do it because she had dated [a fraternity brother]. I helped her collect her clothes.”

    Garcia testified that it was at least 45 minutes after everyone left Dowd’s room that Dowd and his accuser were seen again.

    Ben Lenzini, a senior supply chain management major, was the last to testify on Dowd’s behalf.

    “I heard that there had been an incident and that [she] claimed something happened with Joe,” he said.

    Lenzini said he waited outside the FIJI house as the group of women and FIJI members tried to resolve the situation.

    Dowd said “nothing happened” and claimed that the truth “would just be embarrassing for her and for me.”

    “[She] ran over and latched onto me,” Lenzini said. “I thought it was a little unusual. Most girls—that wouldn’t be their reaction.”

    After the alleged assault incident, TCU Police were called and Dowd was sequestered by detectives, said Roberta L. Hazel, a sexual assault nurse examiner at John Peter Smith Hospital, in testimony Thursday, according to the Star-Telegram. She said the woman and her group of friends sought medical help at John Peter Smith Hospital.

    Hazel said she observed “bruising, tearing and bleeding on and inside the woman’s genitalia,” according to the Star-Telegram.

    The defense’s last witness was Dr. Jack McCubbin, an obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN), who disputed Hazel’s testimony.

    In McCubbin’s testimony, he reviewed photographs from the accuser’s hospital report, which included at least six magnified images of her genitalia. McCubbin said the vaginal laceration identified in the report were lesions from a pre-existing condition.

    According to the Star-Telegram, the woman told jurors that “the intense pain she felt on the night before her examination was brought on by an unwanted and brutal sexual encounter.”

    McCubbin testified that the redness and enlarged cervix observed in the photographs could have been the result of sexual intercourse, but that the “fissures” and “some of the ulcerations” were a dermatological phenomenon unrelated to sexual assault.

    Under cross examination by state prosecutor Kimberly D’Avignon, McCubbin said that the conditions could have been preexisting and that any lacerations were “not a tear” as a result of intercourse.

    Closing arguements were made late afternoon and charges were filed to end the day’s proceedings. Jury deliberations will resume Monday at 9 a.m.

    This story was updated to reflect the proper spelling of Ben Lenzini.