Rape trial begins for former officer Feeney's lawyer says woman not 'reliable'

2nd case on appeal

April 08, 1997|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

A 17-year county police veteran moonlighting as a security guard at an Annapolis shopping center lured a drugstore clerk into his office then raped and sodomized her, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Michael Dennis Feeney, 41, used the woman's interest in her Native American heritage to gain her trust, offered her a ride home the night of Dec. 9, 1995, then raped her in his office, Kathleen Rogers, an assistant Anne Arundel state's attorney, said in her opening statement.

T. Joseph Touhey, Feeney's lawyer, said the alleged victim "is neither credible nor reliable," and that her story is inconsistent.

Feeney, a former sergeant, is being tried on rape and assault charges in Howard County Circuit Court. The trial was moved there because of pre-trial publicity.

Feeney, of the 2600 block of Kresson Place in Bowie, was convicted last year of attempting to sexually assault the manager of the same drugstore, the Rite Aid at Parole Plaza, Dec. 12, 1995. He was sentenced to 18 months and remains free on appeal.

In court yesterday, Rogers told jurors that the alleged victim, a 39-year-old Annapolis woman who had suffered minor brain damage in an accident, had just ended a long-term relationship and was "basically homeless" in November 1995 when she went to work for the drugstore, which has since closed.

Touhey said he has "no problem believing" that Feeney and the woman had sex, but he questioned whether she was forced. The woman had flirted with Feeney earlier in the day and arranged to meet with him that night, he said.

Rogers said the woman was not attracted to Feeney because she is a lesbian.

Rogers said the woman injured her ankle Dec. 8 and came to work the next day on crutches. That was the day she met Feeney, who expressed interest in her Native American heritage.

After a day on her feet, ringing up sales, she hobbled to a bus stop on her crutches and Feeney offered her a ride home, Rogers said.

The woman accepted and followed Feeney into the shopping center's security office, where his conversation turned to "his ex-wife and how it was more difficult to gain control," Rogers said.

Then the officer told the woman, " 'There are things you can do to live and things you can do to die,' " before he raped and sodomized her, Rogers said.

"There were two things going through the woman's head. 'I can't believe this is happening, this is a police officer,' and 'Am I going to die?' " Rogers told the jury.

Touhey told jurors to look for inconsistencies in the woman's story.

"We have the testimony of a lady that will prove to be an incredible individual. Everything you hear about this lady will be twisted, fabricated because of what we believe is her mental disorder," Touhey said, referring to the brain damage.

The woman used several names, including the Cherokee one that was on her badge when she and Feeney met, and has given "a variety of places where she was born," Touhey said.

The woman never reported the incident to police but told two counselors "because she thought she was pregnant," Touhey said.

The trial continues today.

Pub Date: 4/08/97

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