Victim takes the stand in ex-officer rape trial

September 6, 2012 9:44:54 AM PDT
A woman who says she was kidnapped and raped by a Houston police officer took the stand at his trial Wednesday. Abraham Joseph is no longer a cop, but he was last year when the woman says he raped her repeatedly while she was handcuffed.

It was a tough day in the courtroom, and the judge had to take multiple breaks so the victim can compose herself.

With former Houston Police Officer Abraham Joseph sitting at the defense table, the woman who accused him of rape took the stand as the prosecutor's main witness. On the stand, she repeatedly broke down in tears.

KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says the fact that Joseph allegedly assaulted the woman while on duty is key to the prosecutors' argument.

"He has the uniform on, clear notion of superiority, in charge of the situation," Androphy said. "Juries are going to look upon the officer in a totally different way."

The woman worked as a waitress at El Diamante cantina. On the stand, she says Officer Joseph fondled her for the first time when he saw her walking to a nearby gas station. But it wasn't until days later, on January 2, when she says he attacked her. Defense attorneys say it was consensual.

"We believe once the jurors are able to sit down and hear the details that they'll see the inconsistencies are there and the story really doesn't add up," defense attorney Nicole Deborde said.

The woman had just barely begun to recount the attack on the witness stand Wednesday afternoon when she broke down. Through an interpreter, she accused Officer Joseph of ruining her life.

Androphy says the language barrier and the fact that the victim is from another country makes the defense's consent argument difficult.

He explained, "They're going to argue she consented. Well, she doesn't speak English well, she doesn't understand the culture, she doesn't understand the environment she's in."

Androphy suggests the fact that the suspect and victim don't speak the same language is just part of the difficulty of proving the sex was consensual.


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