Alleged Aspen rape victim testifies
ASPEN – The alleged victim of a sexual assault recounted the experience during a hearing Tuesday in Pitkin County District Court, where she testified the man made overtures toward her on a public bus before raping her three times outside of her Aspen apartment complex.
“He threw me into a snowbank and said, ‘I’m going to f— you,'” recalled the woman, sitting approximately 10 feet away from suspect Emanuel Gonzalez-Loujun at the motions hearing.
Gonzalez-Loujun, 22, of Carbondale faces a possible lifetime behind bars for allegedly sexually assaulting the woman during the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2009. He is scheduled to stand trial next month, but not before Judge James Boyd rules on a series of motions filed by the suspect’s public defenders, Stephen McCrohan and Tina Faing.
One motion seeks to suppress the alleged victim’s identification of Gonzalez-Loujun because he was not given due process. The woman identified Gonzalez-Loujun hours after he was taken into custody as the man who raped her.
But public defenders claim that when the woman identified him as the perpetrator, the procedure was “suggestive” because he was in front of a police vehicle and there was no suspect lineup.
Gonzalez-Loujun was in custody at the time of the identification, after he allegedly assaulted a police officer and was found with cocaine on his person. Police had encountered him walking away from the Centennial Apartments when they were reporting to a report that a rape had occurred outside of the complex.
When the alleged victim saw Gonzalez-Loujun, there was no doubt who he was, she testified.
“I said, ‘That’s him, that’s him. That’s the man who raped me’ and ‘I want to cut his balls off,'” the woman said.
Defense attorneys quizzed the alleged victim on a multitude of events leading up to and during the attacks, ranging from how many alcoholic beverages she drank that night to how many times she got a good look at the suspect’s face. She didn’t recall how much she drank, and denied using cocaine that night when McCrohan asked her if she had.
The woman showed little emotion and offered straight-forward testimony – without going into great detail – about the night in question, saying she saw the suspect’s face twice. Other than that, the woman said she had difficulty recollecting the suspect’s face.
“I remember him being big,” she said, “and that’s all I remember.”
The woman testified how she first encountered Gonzalez-Loujun on the 1:40 a.m. public bus to Centennial Apartments. The woman was with her male roommate at the time.
“He grabbed my hand and said he loved my dress,” she said, adding, “I snapped my hand away.”
After she exited the bus and went to her apartment, she and her roommate were cooking a meal when the roommate saw Gonzalez-Loujun outside of their window, the woman testified. Armed with a frying pan, the roommate went outside to track him down.
When the roommate did not return for a while, the woman went outside to check on his whereabouts. She testified that as she went down the stairs, Gonzalez-Loujun apprehended her.
“I was pulled from the steps and grabbed,” she said. “I started calling [my roommate’s] name.”
Gonzalez-Loujun then covered her mouth and pulled her to a snowbank next to some trash cans outside, the alleged victim said. The first time she was raped she resisted and tried to escape.
“He grabbed me and put his hand around my neck and said, ‘Don’t do that again,'” the woman said.
During the subsequent attacks, the woman said she did not resist or try to escape.
“I was trying to make it personal so he didn’t hurt me,” she testified.
Authorities believe Gonzalez-Loujun threatened to kill himself with a gun if she didn’t comply with his demands. The woman did not address that issue.
After she was raped a third and final time, the alleged victim said she was able to break free to a neighbor’s apartment.
“After I got away I had gone up the [apartment steps], and he said, ‘I’m done f—ing you,'” she said.
Gonzalez-Loujun was originally taken into custody that morning for resisting arrest and assaulting a cop when police reported to the area looking for a rape suspect. He was also allegedly found with 13 bindles of cocaine, leading to counts of unlawful possession of cocaine and attempted distribution of cocaine.
Three of the motions pertain to evidence suppression, claiming Gonzalez-Loujun’s rights were violated the morning he was interrogated at the Pitkin County jail. One motion contends he was not advised of his Miranda rights before the interrogation, and that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Another motion seeks to suppress statements Gonzalez-Loujun made to sexual assault nurse examiner Carol Began. The defense claims she interrogated the suspect and provided his statements to Aspen police, yet she did not advise him of his Miranda rights.
Since his arrest, Gonzalez-Loujun has been in the custody of the Pitkin County jail on a $250,000 bond.
The woman testified she has been in therapy because of the alleged attack.
“We try to bring out my memory,” she said. “When something traumatic happens it gets stored in part of your brain. We’re trying to get that out.”
ASPEN – The seemingly strained relationship between the public defender’s office and Aspen prosecutor Arnold Mordkin prompted District Judge James Boyd on Tuesday to urge the two to work better together.
Boyd’s advice followed a two-hour hearing Tuesday during which public defenders Stephen McCrohan and Tina Faing accused Mordkin of not allowing them to view physical evidence in the sexual assault case of Emanuel Gonzalez-Loujun.
They also alleged that Mordkin cursed, pointed his finger at McCrohan and accused him of evidence tampering.
Faing and McCrohan filed a motion this week seeking to review the evidence.
Mordkin claimed the two owed him a “professional courtesy” of letting him know they wanted to inspect the evidence; instead, McCrohan and the investigator last Thursday visited the Aspen Police Department unannounced.
Mordkin did not find out the two were there until Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn learned from Michelle McClinton, the evidence custodian for the Aspen Police Department and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, that McCrohan and the investigator were there.
Boyd ruled that the two could review the evidence during a court recess Tuesday in a motions hearing for Gonzalez-Loujun.
“The bigger concern of the court is the ongoing friction between the two offices and seeing the inability to get beyond that friction,” Boyd said.
The judge added that tempers will occasionally flare between each office, but “it seems that the district attorney’s office and the public defender’s office should communicate better.”
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