In order to protect the privacy of the parties involved in a Colorado case, this blog will not include any specific names. A recent verdict announced by a jury regarding an alleged rape incident means good news for the former Olympic athlete who was accused of the crime. Mr. V. was formally charged with felony sexual assault following a 2008 meeting he had with a minor. But the Colorado jury in the case found Mr. V not guilty of the crime on Wednesday.
Instead, Mr. V. was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of having oral sex with a minor who was 10 years younger than him. The incident occurred between the defendant and the minor after the girl had allegedly gotten drunk at a club and went to Mr. V.’s hotel room after. Though the prosecution argued that the sex between the two was the result of rape, the defense insists that the relations were consensual.
The girl who accused Mr. V. of sex assault was 15 at the time of the alleged incident. In some states, whether she consented to the sex or not would not make a difference because of her age. But in Colorado, once someone is 15 and consents to having sex, then the older party involved cannot be convicted of rape. The victim was considered to be of the age of consent.
Sources report that in a surprising turn in the case, the alleged victim told the court that she was a lesbian, and, therefore would not consent to having sex with the defendant. But Mr. V. continued to argue that the sex was not forced and that he did not take advantage of the girl. He says she willingly went with him to his hotel room, where she showered and wore “nothing but a towel.”
The jury apparently did not believe that rape occurred in this case and took less than a day to rule in favor of the defendant. Mr. V. will face a sentencing hearing in Feb., where he could be sentenced to up to two years in jail.
Colorado Springs, The Gazette, gazette.com: Olympic athlete acquitted of rape charge; John C. Ensslin, 10/7/2010