Woman Testifying on Gang Rape Taken From Court on Stretcher
SAN DIEGO, Texas (AP) _ An alleged gang-rape victim forced under threat of jail to testify was taken from the courthouse on a stretcher Wednesday, but hospital officials declined to say why she fell ill.
Meanwhile, a prosecution witness who admitted he once told a psychiatrist the alleged attack victim ″loved it″ testified Wednesday that she cried and tried to resist the men who sexually assaulted her on the hood of a car last March.
An ambulance took the woman to Alice Physicians and Surgeons Hospital just before she was to begin her second day of testimony in the aggravated kidnapping trial of Felipe Chew, who also faces a separate sexual assault trial in the case.
Nine other men have also been indicted in the incident, in which the woman claimed she was assaulted by up to 20 men. All have pleaded innocent. The woman’s testimony in the case’s first trial in September led to the sexual assault conviction of a 24-year-old man, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The woman was reported in stable condition. Hospital emergency room personnel and nursing supervisors said the woman’s physician refused to release further information.
After the woman was taken to the hospital, District Judge Gilberto Hinojosa told the jury she had ″fallen ill″ and would testify later. Her testimony was cut short Tuesday after she reported fainting during an afternoon break and said her stomach and head ached.
Witness Jose Carlos Briones, speaking in Spanish as a court interpreter translated, testified Wednesday that the woman ″didn’t want to do it. She was complaining. She had tears.″
Briones, 29, was indicted on a sexual assault charge in the case, but his trial date has not been set.
Briones, who also testified for the state in the September trial, said he saw Chew sexually assault the woman with a beer bottle while other men held her down on the car at a ranch where a cockfight was being held.
″He just laughed,″ Briones said of Chew, adding that the woman clearly did not appear to enjoy it.
He admitted Wednesday, however, to Chew’s attorney, Jaime Garza, that during a court-ordered mental-competency examination last June he told a psychiatrist that the woman ″loved it.″
Briones testified that he fondled the woman and tried to have sex with her that night, but that he had consumed two cases of beer that rendered him impotent.
Garza asked Briones if he knew of a reported arrangement by the prosecution to recommend probation for him if he testified against his co-defendants, but Briones said he was not aware of such a deal.
Also Wednesday, District Attorney’s investigator Jerry Galvan testified that the morning after the reported abduction and gang rape the woman appeared ″withdrawn, almost in shock.″
The woman had asked not to testify Tuesday, saying publicity from the case disrupted her personal life, but she took the stand after Hinojosa threatened to jail her for contempt of court.
The judge also denied defense and state motions Tuesday to dismiss the aggravated kidnapping charge against Chew. Later in the day the woman testified that Chew helped abduct her.
Garza said in his opening statement Tuesday the trial would include testimony about nymphomania.