WESTMINSTER — For the second time in less than a year, Jose Rodriguez Rosas was inCircuit Court, charged with raping an acquaintance less than half his age.
For the second time, the 40-year-old Westminster resident sat through more than a day of testimony from people who were trying to convince a jury that he was guilty of raping a young woman.
And, for the second time, a Carroll jury found him not guilty.
As the jury of six men and six women announced its verdict yesterday, the woman sobbed in the arms of her mother, while Rosas gave his attorney, Robert Feinberg of Baltimore, a congratulatory slap on the back. Assistant State's Attorney Edward Ulsch, who prosecuted the case,sat silently at his table.
City police charged Rosas in October with raping the pregnant 18-year-old woman in a wooded clearing at theend of Fair Avenue in Westminster. The woman -- whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy -- walked with Rosas from Center Street to the clearing after the two met on the afternoon of Oct. 25.
According to court testimony, the woman went with Rosas after he had told her he was about to obtain an ounce of marijuana, and that he would share it with her.
Rosas never produced any marijuana, the woman testified, and he threatened her life with a razor-type object andforced her to have intercourse with him.
"It was cold, and I could feel the blade against my throat," the woman said in Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns' courtroom. "I thought he was going to kill me."
No weapon was found at the scene, nor were there any traces of semen or injury, testimony showed. The reason for absence of sperm was also atissue. Rosas said he stopped having intercourse after about two minutes when he realized that the woman was in pain.
Prosecutor Ulsch and the woman saw it differently.
"This defendant knew he had problems," he said during closing arguments. "She was crying, she was on the ground, she was naked. And she was being raped."
Ulsch said that Rosas knew the woman used drugs and held out the marijuana as a ploy "to get the pretty young girl. But she did not go up there to havesex."
For most of her 90-minute testimony, the woman sat nervously, taking deliberate pauses between questions while she fumbled nervously with a paper tissue in her hands. Her voice rarely cracked as she recalled the events of Oct. 25.
Neither side denied that Rosas had sexual intercourse with the young woman; Rosas, however, said thatthe sex was consensual, and that the rape charge materialized only after Rosas failed to deliver the marijuana.
"Her testimony did notcome easily because she lied," Feinberg told the jury during closingarguments. "She got nothing from him, and she was (angry)."
Ulschsaid during the trial that he was not trying to portray the woman asa "perfect" person, admitting that she drank several glasses of fortified wine and a bottle or two of beer on Oct. 25 and occasionally smoked marijuana.
"No one is suggesting that (the woman) is perfect," he told the jury. "Eighteen-year-old people do some things that areimproper."
In May, a Circuit Court jury of 11 men and one woman found Rosas not guilty on charges stemming from the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in October 1990.
In that case, the girl said Rosas had her drive by a golf course, where he pulled a knife and orderedher to remove her clothes. She also told police that Rosas threw herto the ground and forced her to engage in intercourse and other sex acts.