GEORGETOWN, Del. — A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by a former University of Delaware athlete accused of multiple rapes was enthralled after connecting with him on an online dating site and drove to his house intending to have sex with him, defence attorneys told jurors Monday.
But prosecutors told the jury of nine men and three women that the alleged victim did not want to have sex with former baseball player Clay Conaway and that she called friends immediately after the June 2018 encounter, crying hysterically.
“She had set clear boundaries. … She did not want to have sex with him,” Deputy Attorney General Casey Ewart said.
Conaway’s 21-year-old accuser is scheduled to testify Tuesday. She is one of six women Conaway, 23, is accused of raping between September 2013 and July 2018.
The judge presiding over the case ruled in July that there would be separate trials regarding each of Conaway’s accusers. In granting a defence motion for separate trials, the judge said a key issue in each case is whether the victim consented to sexual intercourse and that when consent is a core issue, evidence of other sexual offences is generally not admissible.
Defence attorney Natalie Woloshin told jurors in her opening statement that the accuser connected with Conaway on Bumble, an online dating site where only female users in heterosexual matches can make the first contact.
“OMG … he’s so hot I’m screaming,” the accuser texted a friend after connecting with Conaway, according to Woloshin.
Text messages also show that woman complained about being lonely and wanting sex, and that her friends encouraged her to meet Conaway, with one advising that she needed “some good sex” in her life, the defence said.
“I really do, like so bad,” replied the woman, who received nude photos from Conaway before their encounter, according to Woloshin.
“It was her intention to hook up with Clay Conaway when she willingly drove over to his house,” said Woloshin, who accused police of conducting a shoddy investigation, including never interviewing the woman about what they found on her phone.
Ewart told jurors that Conaway invited the accuser to his house to “hang out” and that she was fine when the two began kissing and cuddling. Ewart said Conaway then began taking off the woman’s clothes, assuring her that it was “no big deal” and that he was fine with not having sex.
The encounter quickly escalated against her will, however, with Conaway briefly penetrating her before ejaculating on her stomach, Ewart said.
Ewart said the woman repeatedly told Conaway to stop.
“But he ignored her and kept going,” she said.
Woloshin pointed out that while Conaway purportedly invited the woman over to watch a movie, she was worried about meeting him because she was on her period, of which she advised Conaway.
“Why would she tell him that if they were just going to watch a movie?” asked Woloshin, adding that a medical exam found no vaginal injury, and that the woman described her pain level at “zero” when being discharged from the hospital on the night of the encounter.
Woloshin suggested that the woman became angry and upset after Conaway received a phone call and told her abruptly that she had to leave because he was going to the gym with a friend.
“He ended it early and abruptly without consideration for her feelings,” she said, adding that, “It’s not illegal to hurt a woman’s feelings.”
Randall Chase, The Associated Press