Victim in Gang Rape Case Carried From Courthouse
SAN DIEGO, Texas (AP) _ An alleged gang-rape victim forced under threat of jail to testify at trial was taken from the courthouse on a stretcher this morning as she was about to take the stand for a second day.
It could not immediately be determined what was wrong with the woman or where the ambulance took her.
The woman ″has fallen ill, so we’re going to take other witnesses out of order″ until she returns, Judge Gilberto Hinojosa told the jury.
The woman had testified Tuesday until mid-afternoon, when she reported fainting during a break in her cross-examination. Earlier in the day, a defense attorney had suggested in opening arguments that she was sex-crazed.
Felipe Chew, 29, is on trial on an aggravated kidnapping charge and also faces a sexual assault trial in the case. He was indicted with nine other men after the woman reported being abducted and raped by as many as 20 men in March.
Her 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 asked to be excused from testifying in the Chew trial, and the prosecutor agreed to the request, but the judge on Tuesday compelled her to testify or go to jail for contempt of court.
She said that publicity from the case disrupted her personal life and that the news media had harassed her.
″To a certain extent, I sympathize with what you’ve been going through, or what you say you’ve been going through,″ said the judge. ″But too much has happened for me to allow you to determine whether or not this case should proceed.″
Prosecution testimony continued this morning with investigator Jerry Galvan describing the woman as ″withdrawn, almost in shock″ the morning after the incident.
Defense attorney Jaime Garza in his opening statement Tuesday said the trial would include testimony about ″women who have an insatiable desire for sex, women that just can’t get enough, even with multiple men.″
He said a witness would testify the woman got willingly into a car with the men she said abducted her.
Garza also noted the woman’s request to be excused from testifying, saying, ″You have to ask yourselves, ’Why? Why didn’t she want to testify?‴
During her testimony Tuesday, the woman said she was pulled into a car with Chew and three other men, taken to a ranch where an illegal cockfight was being held and forced to perform sex acts with a number of men, including Chew.