BREAKING: Casper Man Convicted of Sex Assault, Abuse of Vulnerable Adult
A Casper man has been convicted of sexually assaulting and abusing a woman with down syndrome outside a bar last summer, concluding a four-day trial in Natrona County District Court.
Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen tells K2 Radio News that Raymond Martin Brown was convicted of third-degree sexual assault and intentional abuse of a vulnerable adult. Combined, the charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
The verdict was read shortly after 8 p.m. Friday. Itzen says that Brown, who had been free on bond, was remanded to custody pending sentencing.
Prosecutors said that the victim, who is diagnosed with down syndrome, hadn't previously known Brown when the two met as the victim attended a class reunion at Keg and Cork in July 2017. The two reportedly kissed in the bar before Brown led her out to his vehicle in the parking lot, touching her in a sexual manner and placing her hand on his private parts.
The victim told Brown to stop twice, according to the affidavit. He stopped after the second time she told him to do so.
"No means no, and she should only have to say it once," Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri told jurors during his closing argument.
Defense attorney Donald Tolin had argued that jurors could not convict Brown, because Brown was too intoxicated to have had any intent to commit the crimes. According to law, a defendant must have had "specific intent" to sexually assault or abuse a victim for the purpose of sexual gratification or abuse, in order to be convicted of such a charge.
Tolin contended that Brown was so drunk on the night in question, there was no way he could have known what he was doing. Brown was arrested at roughly 1 a.m., and his blood-alcohol concentration was shown to be .14 at 5 a.m., which would have put Brown at nearly twice the legal limit to drive.
In responding to Tolin's argument, Taheri told jurors that it would require a high level of intoxication for a person to be deemed unable to have formed specific intent. Being too drunk to drive, Taheri said, does not necessarily mean that a person could not have formed intent.
"He was caught on video kissing her and leading her toward his truck," Taheri told jurors.
Tolin on Friday twice brought a motion for a judgment of acquittal on the basis that Brown would have been too intoxicated to have formed specific intent. Sullins denied the motion on each occasion.
Tolin also argued that police and the victim misidentified his client as the perpetrator. In a forensic interview, Tolin said, the victim said the incident occurred inside of a blue truck. Brown, however, drove a black vehicle, which was purportedly parked next to a blue vehicle on the night in question.
Tolin further contended that the victim is "extremely high-functioning," and an intoxicated Brown would have had no way of knowing she was diagnosed with down syndrome.
Taheri, in his response, asked why -- if Brown was unaware of the victim's status as a vulnerable adult -- Brown denied having sexual contact with her when questioned by police.