Defense attacks alleged rape victim’s memory

By Mike Linn

Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal has opted to withhold the name of the alleged victim in this case. The story contains some graphic descriptions that some readers may find objectionable.

PORTALES — The alleged victim in the first of five rape cases against a Clovis man said Thursday in Portales district court that she doesn’t recall much of the night in question, but she knows for sure she told the man to stop.
The accused is John Jacobs, who is facing up to 10 1/2 years in prison if convicted of criminal sexual penetration and tampering with evidence. The charges stem from an incident that occurred in a dorm room on Eastern New Mexico University’s campus in late August of 2002.
Jacobs’ attorney Gerald Baca told jurors the sex was consensual.
During cross examination on Thursday the 19-year-old woman told Baca she lost consciousness on a ride home with Jacobs from a party and doesn’t remember how she got into Jacobs’ dorm room. She said she only remembers waking up naked with Jacobs groping her, and she then told Jacobs “no,” and yelled for help.
“I don’t remember kissing him (in the car ride) … I don’t believe I would have because I didn’t like him,” she said.
But in Baca’s opening statements he said the woman, 18 when the incident occurred, was interested in Jacobs, and will call witnesses to support that claim.
Throughout testimony on Thursday, a jury heard the woman say she doesn’t remember many things that happened that night — and even forgot her grand jury testimony that Jacobs had answered a telephone call during the incident.
The woman said she is not accusing Jacobs of drugging her, although she said she had little to drink at a party and all of a sudden felt “strange,” like she had taken Nyquil.
Feeling numb, the woman said she asked an acquaintance — Kathy Mitchell, who will testify for both the defense and the state today — to drive her home.
The next thing she remembers is waking up naked in Jacobs’ room, where at one point she recalls Jacobs’ saying “nobody turns down John Jacobs.”
“I will always remember him saying ‘nobody turns down John Jacobs’,” the woman said during testimony. “The flashbacks keep me awake all night long.”
The woman said she only yelled for help once, and was unable to seek help when Jacobs answered a knock on his door during the incident. She said the dorm hallway during the incident was extremely populated.
“When you’re scared it’s tough to say things,” she said, and added that it was too difficult to walk to the door for help because her “legs felt numb.”
Ninth Judicial Deputy District Attorney Andrea Reeb told jurors in her opening testimony the physical evidence — including severe lacerations to areas of the woman’s vagina and bruises to other parts of the body — are obvious indications of rape.
But Baca disputed the severity of the lacerations in his opening statement, and said the woman’s memory lapses draw serious doubt to Jacobs’ guilt. Baca also said the alleged victim’s account of the evening is different than what other witnesses saw.
“Conveniently the victim will tell you ‘I blacked out,’” Baca told jurors. “Her story is just too convenient. She just happens to forget the part where she is going along with everything John Jacobs is doing and she’s not contesting one iota.”
Two of 10 witnesses for the state testified on Thursday; the case is scheduled through today and a verdict should be reached this afternoon, according to 9th Judicial Assistant District Attorney Matt Chandler.
Jacobs also faces trial on unrelated rape charges in Clovis next week.