Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lower Chi man acquitted of rape, unlawful restraint

The most disgusting part of this story are the comments at the end. The woman admits to having several drinks, but insists that something was "placed" in her drink. Her friend that was with her states that everything was above board, and consensual. Again, it appears to be a case of regret, not rape. At some point, responsibility is going to need to be DEMANDED for one's actions. This will greatly reduce the rates of false accusations, and innocent people's lives being irrevocably altered.

This is also a case where the accusation came over a year after the incident, and relied solely on the "victims" word, as she never went to the hospital, and no rape kit was ever prepared. Thankfully, there were enough eyewitnesses to show the innocence of Douglas McDermott.

Eyewitness accounts help prove innocence in false rape claim.

By MARLENE DiGIACOMOmailto:DiGIACOMOmdigiacomo@delcotimes.com

MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A judge Wednesday acquitted a Lower Chichester man of all charges involving a woman who said he drugged and raped her in April 2007. But she did not report it until a year later.

Douglas J. McDermott, 36, of the 300 block of Cranston Avenue, was found not guilty of charges including rape and unlawful restraint by Delaware County Judge Patricia Jenkins. Jenkins had taken the matter under advisement following last week’s nonjury trial.

In her written verdict, the judge stated the evidence presented did not meet the legal threshold of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Defense attorney Steven Pacillio said his client, who has been free on bail, took the stand and denied any wrongdoing.

“(McDermott) has maintained that sex was consensual. He was elated to be vindicated,” said Pacillio. “He has no record whatsoever. He is a financial adviser and he could have lost his license. He had a lot riding on this — not only his freedom, but his entire livelihood.”

The woman, who was emotional while on the stand, testified that she believed something was placed in her drink while at the bar.

Under cross-examination by Pacillio, the woman, who works for a victim-advocacy group, said she was also accosted in the ladies room that night by another man.

She said she did not report that incident either because when she said, “No,” he left her alone.

“I think it shows she has some sort of victim complex and believes everybody is out to attack her — at least it seemed that way that night,” said Pacillio.

After Jenkins’ decision, the woman said she was appalled by the verdict.

The woman testified that she and her friend only had a couple of drinks while at the bar, but they both felt groggy and neither was comfortable driving home.

She said McDermott and a woman he was with, who had struck up a conversation at the bar, offered them a ride. She said she went in his car and her friend rode with McDermott’s friend.

The woman said she believed she was going home, but the other three witnesses said there was an agreement to meet back at McDermott’s house. The two women testified that they stopped for a time and did not go directly to McDermott’s residence.

The woman testified that while in his house, she floated in and out of consciousness. She said while there, McDermott sexually assaulted her. She said when the other two women arrived at McDermott’s home, they all spent the night there.

Pacillio argued that the alleged victim said she was drugged and raped, but never went to a hospital out of concern for her well-being and also waited more than a year to report it to police.“

When the police first came to question (McDermott), he didn’t even remember the incident. It had happened so long ago,” said Pacillio. “Judge Jenkins saw the case for what it was. The facts alleged by the commonwealth were less than credible and even some of the defense testimony corroborated our account. There was nothing nonconsensual that occurred that night.”