Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Alleged victim testifies in Patrick Durocher rape trial

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(Mark Chiarelli/Daily Collegian)

(Mark Chiarelli/Daily Collegian)

NORTHAMPTON – The woman that claims Patrick Durocher raped her on the University of Massachusetts campus tearfully recounted her story in front of jurors Thursday, saying Durocher approached and assaulted her next to the Campus Center in September 2013.

She testified that she was startled to hear a voice call out to her and approach from behind as she walked home from a party at a fraternity house on North Pleasant Street on Sept. 2, 2013. The next thing she remembered, she said, was being pushed and held against a tree as a man applied pressure to her throat and arm.

The woman said Durocher then pulled her to the ground and began to kiss and bite her neck, and that she had difficulty moving her head. She testified that she remembers him raping her, and then remembers being loaded into an ambulance following the alleged attack.

“I tried to stay stop,” she said through tears in Hampshire Superior Court.

Durocher, 20, has pled not guilty to aggravated rape, kidnapping and assault and battery. His defense attorney, Vincent Bongiorni, maintains the sex was consensual.

The woman, who testified for more than two hours Thursday, said she had never met Durocher. She said she attended the party with friends, felt drunk after consuming between three and four shots at the party but remained “in control,” and then left alone to return home because she was tired.

But Bongiorni challenged her memory of the night, repeatedly asking why she could remember specifics of certain instances but fail to recall others. He also questioned discrepancies between her statement to police regarding alcohol consumption and her testimony Thursday.

Bongiorni also asserted that the woman met Durocher at the party, walked back with him and the two began kissing and hugging near the steps of the Campus Center.

At one point during Bongiorni’s cross-examination of the woman, she began to cry and ask for a break.

Jurors also heard testimony Thursday from Jennifer Bartak, a former UMass police officer, and Derek Napoli, a UMass detective.

Bartak rode in the ambulance with the woman as she was transported to Cooley Dickinson Hospital following the incident, while Napoli investigated the case. Bartak said the woman appeared disheveled, disoriented and sometimes struggled to respond to questions.

Bartak also testified that the woman initially said she had intercourse that night and it was consensual, but gave two different names when asked, neither being Durocher.

The woman told prosecutor Jennifer Suhl that she remembered being very confused upon arriving at the hospital following the alleged attack.

“I was very rattled,” she said. “I don’t think I really understood what had happened.”

Witnesses have testified they saw Durocher half-naked on top of the woman, who was on her back in the grass by the Campus Center and lying still. One witness later called 911 after helping her from the scene.

The woman said she didn’t remember specifics of any conversation she had with Bartak during the ambulance ride, but was worried her parents would find out. The woman said that, after initial hesitation, she consented to a sexual assault examination by a nurse. She testified that she then texted her friend to pick her up from the hospital and returned home later that morning.

Bongiorni questioned how the woman could remember specific details of the alleged assault – such as it being “an attack by a stranger” – but failed to remember other details, such as forgetting parts of the ambulance ride or specific conversations with nurses or police officers.

He repeatedly pressed her on her memory of a conversation with a nurse in the hospital. The woman remembered the conversation, she testified, but could not remember any specifics about her answers.

He also challenged her memory of the alleged attack, showing a photo that appeared to show the woman and Durocher on the ground and asking, “There isn’t a tree within 50 feet of that, is there?” Bongiorni later asked whether her drinking could’ve interfered with her memory.

According to her testimony, the woman claimed she had three shots of vodka while pre-gaming, slightly more while at the party and sips of beer. But she said in her statement to police she had only 1.5 shots, according to Bongiorni.

Suhl said Monday that the woman’s blood alcohol content was .22 five hours after the alleged assault.

Bartak provided details of conversation between herself and the woman on the ambulance ride during her testimony.

Bartak said the woman acknowledged having intercourse and said it was consensual, but appeared confused while telling her story. The woman told Bartak she had consumed five shots of alcohol that night and left the party with a friend named Tommy, and later said she had consensual sex with another friend name Ryan.

Bongiorni pressed both Bartak and Napoli on specifics regarding the crime scene as well. He said there were no trees close to the crime scene – to which Bartak said “There’s so many multiple trees in the area” – and questioned the order of the woman’s statements to Bartak throughout the ambulance ride.

Bongiorni has also argued this week that the woman only accused Durocher after a photo of the incident was seen on social media. Witness testimony confirmed that Jacqueline Jacobs, a student passing by who believed the apparent sex was “funny” and “consensual,” posted a photo to Twitter that was later retweeted by Barstool Sports.

The woman said she didn’t learn of the photo’s posting to social media until a day after the incident, but Bongiorni questioned if Napoli told her about it. Bongiorni also challenged Napoli’s decision to not check the woman’s social media records or cell phone history despite UMPD summoning Durocher’s phone records.

Thursday started late after an issue arose with a juror in the morning. A man on the jury approached Suhl to offer his personal advice prior to the start of court, and was subsequently excused from the jury by judge Mary-Lou Rup.

The trial will resume at 9 p.m. Tuesday, as Rup is unavailable Friday and Monday. Both sides expect jury deliberations to begin sometime Wednesday.

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.

 

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