Thursday, November 02, 2006

Seducer faces rape trial

The Philadelphia Daily News reports:
A total of seven women yesterday accused Marsalis -- described as a drifter with no permanent address here -- of drugging them, then sexually assaulting them. Five said they had met Marsalis through the online dating site

Marsalis has already beaten a similar rap. In January, he was acquitted by a Philadelphia jury on almost identical charges -- that he had raped three women he'd met through the Internet.

Despite that initial setback for prosecutors, Philly police stepped up their investigation of Marsalis.

Police said that over the past 21 months, they have come across 13 victims in 15 incidents in which Marsalis has been suspected of committing rape.

"There was a plan," Lt. Thomas McDevitt of the Special Victims Unit said. "There is no doubt about it."

Marsalis would lure women to meet him in public, telling his victims he was a successful career man on the right track, police said.

He posed as a doctor, an astronaut-in-training, even a ""confident to the president," McDevitt said, adding that Marsalis showed women various cards and photos to back up his stories. ...

The women did not report the alleged attacks to police. One said police contacted her to ask about her encounter with Marsalis.

Two of the women met Marsalis in their apartment buildings, not online. One of those women was not raped but said Marsalis had assaulted her.

The women tried to explain a confounding experience: rapes that involved more confusion than force, more regret than resistance, more acquiescence than threat.

One woman said she became pregnant during the attack and asked Marsalis to accompany her -- and help pay for -- an abortion. He did.

Another woman met Marsalis for lunch in Chinatown just days after her alleged rape. She said she had been drugged and raped again after lunch.

Yet another had lunch with Marsalis the day after the alleged assault. One said that she had spent most of the weekend with him and that he had attacked her again.

One said that, after some time had elapsed since the first attack, she continued to "hang out" with Marsalis in the apartment building where they both resided. She accused him of raping her again right after she was discharged from the hospital following an illness that left her weak. ...

In the January trial in which Marsalis was acquitted, none of those women immediately reported the rapes, and two continued to date and have consensual sex with him.
This is weird. I realize that a lot of people have unusual ideas about what constitutes rape, but unless the police find physical evidence of the illegal use of some drug, they don't have a case.