Alleged victim gives conflicting testimony

February 05, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

On the witness stand in front of a Carroll County jury yesterday, the 21-year-old alleged rape victim couldn't remember much about the night of Aug. 23.

She couldn't remember what she was doing the day before, what she was talking about with two friends in the evening or whether she had watched her estranged husband in a softball game the night before.

Under questioning by Assistant Public Defender Judson K. Larrimore, her answers were little more than "I don't know," "I can't remember" and "I don't recall."

That pattern continued until she was questioned about her accusations of rape against Ronald Elliott Simms 2nd.

The woman had reported to police that she, Mr. Simms and another friend were talking on the porch of their Westminster apartment complex that evening. She asked Mr. Simms if he could fix her VCR.

When he finished fixing the VCR, Mr. Simms is alleged to have sexually assaulted the woman while her 4-month-old baby slept in an adjacent bedroom.

The woman's testimony was at times inconsistent, as when, under direct questioning by Deputy State's Attorney Edward M. Ulsch, she contradicted points the prosecutor made during opening statements to the jury.

Asked what she did after the alleged sexual assault, the woman said she took a bath and a shower at the same time.

Mr. Ulsch then asked her if she used a douche.

"No, sir, I did not," she said.

In an attempt to explain why doctors examining the woman couldn't find any evidence of sperm, Mr. Ulsch had told the jury earlier that she had douched.

Under questioning Aug. 23 by Westminster police officers, the woman said she had showered in a front bathroom, bathed in a back bathroom and used a douche, according to court documents.

Mr. Ulsch had asked the jury during his opening arguments to "keep an open mind" about the case and to remember that sex occurred "without her consent. It was rape."

Mr. Simms, 19, and Mr. Larrimore contend that the sex was consensual and that the rape accusation was intended to get closer to or get back at the woman's estranged husband.

"She calls her husband, and the husband is certainly interested in what she is telling him," Mr. Larrimore said. "She doesn't call police, ever, and she doesn't want her husband to call police either."

NB Under questioning by Mr. Larrimore, the woman said that during

the three weeks that she and her husband had been separated, he didn't visit "as much as he should have."

Mr. Larrimore also said that the woman's actions were not those of a rape victim. She bathed, put the clothes she was wearing in the wash and didn't call police, he said.

"You certainly know better than to wash up after being through this, don't you?" Mr. Larrimore asked. "I mean, you've been through this procedure before, haven't you?"

In 1991, the woman had accused a man of sexually assaulting her in Delaware, trial testimony showed. The woman did not appear for the accused man's trial, and the case was dismissed.

AShe testified yesterday that she did not go to the Delaware trial because she was never subpoenaed. Her mother said the same when she took the witness stand later yesterday.

Testimony in the case is expected to conclude today, said Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. The jury could begin deliberations on Monday.

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