Sexual assault nurse testifies in Aspen rape trial | AspenTimes.com
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Sexual assault nurse testifies in Aspen rape trial

ASPEN – A nurse who examined the woman who was allegedly raped by a Carbondale man outside of Aspen’s Centennial housing complex last year spent most of Thursday testifying for the prosecution, providing details of the victim’s condition and demeanor.

Sexual assault nurse examiner Carol Bagen was on the witness stand for several hours in the trial of Emanuel Gonzalez-Loujun, 22, who is accused of sexually assaulting the woman on Jan. 17, 2009.

Bagen said she examined the victim at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs at 5 a.m., about three hours after the alleged attack took place in various locations outside of the housing complex.

The prosecution alleges the victim performed at least three sexual acts with Gonzalez-Loujun after he followed her home from a bus stop. He allegedly dragged her to a snow bank outside of her apartment and sexually assaulted her, threatening to kill himself with a gun if she didn’t comply with his demands.

That’s consistent with what Bagen said the victim told her during the initial phase of the exam, she testified to the jury.

“She was afraid he was going to kill her and kill himself,” Bagen testified.

No gun was ever found.

As the victim recounted the attack, Bagen said the woman cried a lot but was lucid enough to answers questions clearly and appropriately.

“She gave very detailed information,” Bagen said of the victim, adding that she didn’t observe any signs that she was intoxicated on drugs or alcohol.

Photos of the victim that were taken during the exam were displayed in front of the jury. Bagen pointed out several injuries the victim had. They included an abrasion to her left knee, which had fresh blood on it, and her lip appeared swollen.

The victim’s left hand was swollen, and her knuckles had what appeared to be fresh, small cuts on them. Her left hip had multiple linear cuts that looked like the area had been scraped. Her lower back also had minor scrapes, Bagen testified.

During his cross examination, public defender Stephen McCrohan suggested that those injuries could have occurred if the victim was intoxicated and fell down.

McCrohan handed a photo of the victim to Bagen and asked her to identify a white substance that appeared under the woman’s nostril.

Previously in the trial, the defense has suggested that the alleged victim arranged to trade sex for cocaine with Gonzalez-Loujun.

Bagen testified that she didn’t know what the white substance was and didn’t test it because she had no reason to believe the victim was on drugs.

McCrohan questioned Bagen as to why she allowed the victim to blow her nose and dab her eyes during the exam, possibly destroying any evidence that was on her face.

“She was crying several times during the exam,” Bagen said, adding that the victim had been using Kleenex at the outset of the interview because her nose was running, and that it occurred before any photos were taken.

McCrohan also questioned Bagen on the circumstances in which she took a blood sample of the suspect when she performed an exam on him roughly 13 hours after the alleged attack.

Bagen drew blood from Gonzalez-Loujun and put it in a tube that’s used for DNA testing, assuming that is what Aspen police Officer Chris Womack, the lead investigator on the case, wanted and what was issued in the warrant for the suspect’s exam.

But the blood was supposed to be tested for toxicology to determine if Gonzalez-Loujun was under the influence of drugs. The blood was put into the wrong type of tube, and as a result, it wasn’t preserved adequately for testing.

Bagen testified she didn’t know Womack was color blind and would not have known the differentiation in the tube types. She also said she had no reason to test the suspect for drugs. That’s despite that the warrant indicated he had been arrested for cocaine possession.

When police arrested Gonzalez-Loujun minutes after the victim escaped into a neighbor’s apartment, they allegedly found 14 bindles of cocaine in his pants pocket.

McCrohan asked Bagen if the alleged victim ever told her that she said to the suspect the words “no,” “stop,” “don’t do that again,” or called for help. Bagen said the alleged victim did not tell her she said any of those words to Gonzalez-Loujun.

Bagen said she found no trace evidence on either the victim or Gonzalez-Loujun during her exams of them.

The victim said she had not bathed since the attack, Bagen testified.

Gonzalez-Loujun faces up to life in state prison if convicted of the sexual assault charge. He also is being tried for the felony counts of kidnapping, assault on a police officer, possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Since his arrest, Gonzalez-Loujun has been in the custody of the Pitkin County jail on a $250,000 bond.

The trial resumes Friday, when the prosecution is expected to rest its case. The trial will likely go through Saturday, when the defense will bring forward five more witnesses, including, possibly, Gonzalez-Loujun.

csack@aspentimes.com


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