Wednesday, August 8, 2007

NC - Woman testifies about alleged assault by former police officer

View the article here | Rape case goes to court | Found Guilty - 6 years prison


A woman who is accusing former Stoneville police Sgt. Gary Roger Walker of sexually assaulting her took the stand Tuesday afternoon in Rockingham County Superior Court.

"I didn't holler, I didn't scream. I just said please stop," the woman, sometimes crying, told the court.

Walker, 40, is charged with second-degree rape. The alleged assault happened in Eden early Feb. 24, 2006, according to court records.

Walker is an 18-year veteran police officer. The Stoneville Town Council placed him on paid leave March 2006 and have since put him on unpaid leave and removed him from the city's insurance coverage.

The 45-year-old woman told the jury about how her husband of nearly 24 years died about a year before she met Walker. She was new to the dating scene, she told the jury, and met Walker through friends at a local bar. The two hit it off, and she gave Walker her phone number when he asked for it that night, she told the jury.

"Several people told me he was a really good guy," she said. She told the jury about several dates the pair had over a period of a few weeks. Walker was a gentleman, she said several times.

One night, after a dinner date, the two went to Walker's house and played pool. Kissing led to further sexual advances, but when things began to go too far, she said, she asked Walker to stop. He complied without hesitation.

"He was very much a gentleman that night," she said. Walker impressed her again when she canceled a date. She found a letter from her husband that day and was overwhelmed by the memories. Walker was consoling about the matter, she said, and even called her several times that night to check on her.

But things changed that Thursday night in February, according to the woman. The couple planned to go with friends to Green's Supper Club off U.S. 29 across the county line in Brown Summit.

Walker drove the woman's car, but they planned for her to drive home. Walker had planned to drink, she said.

When they got to Green's, Walker and the woman had a couple of beers. As the night wore on, Walker switched to a cocktail of vodka and Red Bull. The couple danced, and Walker continued to drink, having, by the woman's estimate, five to seven cocktails.

They met another couple that night.

Things went well, she said; the couples even joked about getting passports that night and taking off. But the woman needed to go, she said. She was having trouble with her teenage daughter since her husband's death, and she was due home by 11:30.

It was midnight, however, when the couple pulled up to Walker's house outside Eden. On the ride home the two talked about sex, and she told Walker she still wasn't ready for that. He told her he wasn't ready to settle down, but if he did it would be with a woman like her, she told the court.

Walker invited her in. She said she went just inside the home and checked her voicemail as Walker used the bathroom. When he came out he began to kiss her. They continued until they were in front of the couch. Walker, she said in court Tuesday, unbuttoned her pants and pushed her down on the couch. He didn't push her hard, she said.

"I started saying, 'We can't do this. I'm not ready for this.' It was like he didn't hear me," she said.

He pulled her pants off so hard it tore the zipper, the prosecution contends. Walker then assaulted her, she said. All the while she cried and asked him "to please stop."

Her elderly mother and father clutched one another Tuesday as they listened from the gallery.

When Walker stopped, the woman told the court she immediately got up, put on her jeans and ran out the front door. Walker called after her; she had forgotten her shoes. She returned for the shoes but left a bracelet.

Walker called her cell phone as she drove home, but she didn't answer, phone records show. Once home, she found her daughter waiting. The woman told the girl she was fine and ran to her room. She showered and spent the next day crying in bed.

A friend visited her Saturday, and she told the friend that Walker had raped her. The woman's brother learned of the incident. To calm him, the woman went to Eden police and filed a report. Because the incident happened outside the city, Eden police told her by phone the next day, she would need to file a report with the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office investigated the incident and took photos of the woman's bruised thigh and arm. They later passed the case to the State Bureau of Investigation, citing concerns about transparency. The woman's uncle is a sheriff's deputy.

The prosecution Tuesday played for the jury two voicemails that Walker left on the woman's phone. Walker left the first on Friday morning, about eight hours after the alleged assault. He left the second about the same time the next day.

In both messages, Walker apologizes again and again for being drunk and for his behavior.

"I didn't know I was getting that intoxicated. But please return my phone call," Walker said Friday, according to a transcript of the call.

"I don't normally act that way and I realize you're not going to call me anymore and I know you probably don't want to go out with me anymore," he said the Saturday after the incident, according to a transcript. "I don't act that way and I just got tore up."

The woman told the jury that she saw Walker twice after that evening -- once at the hospital while visiting a sick relative. She said she became sick afterward, which is why, she told the jury, when she saw him again at a local bar and grill she stayed there. She visited another bar that night knowing Walker would be there, too.

"I was not going to let him intimidate me like he did at the hospital," she told the jury.

Walker's father and other family and friends attended Tuesday's proceedings. Gary Roger Walker Sr. was chief of the Stoneville Police Department until the Town Council dismissed him in March. He remains on the force as a part-time officer.

The trial continues this morning, when the defense is scheduled to cross-examine the woman.

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