Saturday, November 7, 2009

Videotaped rapes net men 6 years in California's prison system

A woman who was videotaped while being raped recieved justice yesterday when her attackers were sentenced to 6 years in California prisons. Michael Alexander Clemmons, 20, of Tustin, and John Paul Foster II, 23, of Seaside, Ca plead uilty in September to eight sex charges, including including rape of an unconscious person unable to resist due to an intoxicating substance. Yesterday, Luster Mitchell Lewis, 21, of Irvine, plead guilty to similar charges. All defendants received 6 years in prison, a sentenced handed down by Ornage County Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel.

The three became friends while attending Tustin High School in Tustin, CA. Clemmons and Foster played football for Santa Ana City College, while Lewis moved elsewhere in California.

In July 2008, the men were partying at the Key Inn, a motel at 1611 El Camino Real in Tustin, with the 18-year-old acquaintance, who was intoxicated but expecting the defendants to take care of her, according to Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman. But instead, Mestman said, the three men took advantage of her sexually after she passed out while using a video camera to record the action.

The victim was non-responsive throughout the sexual assault, and did not resist – even when Clemmons slapped her in the face, told her to wake up, and held her nose closed to suffocate her in order to wake her up, Mestman said.

The videotape was discovered by a third party in December 2008 and turned over as evidence to Tustin Police, prosecutors said. Tustin Detectives located the victim, who said that she was unaware of the sexual assaults because she was passed out from too much to drink.

In her victim impact statement, the woman told the court that the assault left her with emotional issues and unable to trust. The inability to trust is not limited to the actual attackers, but also included her "friends," who did not believe that she had been raped, and her "boyfriend," who when she told the story of her attack, sided with the attackkers, his longtime friend rather than his "girlfriend."

"He said he didn't want to have to choose between his friends of 12 years and a girl who he's been dating for four months...I don't know why I stayed with him. I had hope it would get better."

In addition, after the rapes, the defendants refused to take her home, so "they told me to take the bus. I was angry and confused and I didn't know why they wouldn't help me.

Deputy Alternate Defender Kenneth Morrison offered this statement of remorse on Foster's behalf.

  John has never attempted to justify or excuse in any way anything he did that night, but there are some things  that may help to explain why he acted as he did," Morrison said. John has dealt with deep emotional feelings of abandonment since childhood due to tragedies in his family life," he said. "As a result, he has been somewhat of a follower in order to be accepted and fit in with people who have befriended him …

   John sincerely believes that but for the influence of alcohol and that desire to be accepted and fit in, he would not have been deluded into believing that the contact was in any way consensual and he would have stepped in and tried to stop the others when inappropriate touching began," Morrison said

No comments: