HOLTON, Kan. – One of five women who allege they were sexually assaulted by a northeast Kansas man told jurors that she was attacked after a party at his home and that he hit her and pulled her hair before raping her.
The woman testified Tuesday during the trial of 22-year-old Jacob Ewing, a former state football champion facing several charges that have divided the small town of Holton, where his family is well known. Ewing was acquitted during an April trial of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl when he was 19, and trials involving other women are scheduled later this year.
The latest trial, which began Monday, involves two of Ewing's accusers. One of them spent more than an hour calmly recounting the night in May 2016 when she alleges she wanted to sleep in Ewing's bed after a party but that he insisted on having sex and eventually raped her, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported .
"I think I told him I didn't want to do it, and from there I was just crying," she testified.
The woman said Ewing also hit her on the head and pulled her hair. She said she left after the assault and tried to call a female friend. She said she then went to the nearby home of a male friend who persuaded her to call police, even though she wanted to "go to sleep and try forgetting about it." More than 14 hours passed before she went to a hospital.
Ewing told Jackson County police the next day that he didn't assault the woman and he didn't believe they had sex, though he couldn't remember, according to testimony and police documents. Ewing is charged with rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, battery and drug charges in the case.
The second woman, who alleges she was attacked in September 2014, was also expected to testify during the trial.
During cross-examination Tuesday, defense attorney Kathleen Ambrosio focused on why the woman didn't leave Ewing's house once he said he wanted to have sex. The woman said in part that she didn't have enough gas to drive home. The woman also said she didn't immediately go to the hospital after talking to law enforcement because she didn't want to talk about what happened.
Special prosecutor Jacqie Spradling told jurors that male DNA consistent with Ewing, or any male in his family, was found on the woman's underwear in 2016. Investigators have said no other DNA was found in that case or the one stemming from the 2014 incident.
Jennifer Harris, a nurse who specializes in sexual assault, told jurors she examined the woman after the alleged assault and saw signs, including an abrasion on the woman's genitals, she thought were consistent with trauma. Harris said she didn't see any bruising or swelling on the woman's face, but noted marks on the woman's left earlobe.
Other testimony Tuesday indicated investigators found weapons and pipes, some containing marijuana, inside Ewing's home.
Ewing, also a former high school wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter, grew up in Holton, a town of 3,300 residents about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Topeka. His supporters have posted signs in their yards and wear supportive T-shirts to court proceedings. Advocates for the women have formed a support group on Facebook and organized volunteers to sit in the courtroom during proceedings.
Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com