Logan • A Utah judge is mulling whether the seven women who have accused former Utah State University football star Torrey Green of sexual assault will be allowed to testify at one another’s trials.
Green is charged in 1st District Court with 11 felonies in connection with the testimony of seven women who say the athlete sexually assaulted them when he was a student at the Logan university.
Each alleged victim’s case has been filed in court separately, and prosecutors have said each case will go to trial individually. But they have asked Judge Brian Cannell to allow them to present evidence and testimony from each of the seven alleged victims at each trial.
Prosecutors have asked for the evidence to be admitted under the doctrine of chances, a legal rule that allows evidence of other bad acts to be presented at a trial to show it is unlikely that a defendant would be innocently involved in similar situations repeatedly.
Deputy Cache County Attorney Spencer Walsh argued Thursday that if a jury heard the testimony of the other women, it would help them make credibility assessments in what are mostly “he said, she said” cases.
“There’s other corroborative evidence, but no smoking gun,” Walsh argued. “There’s a great need for this evidence. We’re going to ask the judge to give the jury the tools it needs.”
Walsh argued that including the evidence in the other cases also will help jurors assess the likelihood that seven different women — who don’t know one another — would falsely accuse Green of rape.
But Green’s attorney, Skye Lazaro, argued in response that the cases should stand on their own, and that allowing the additional testimony would amount to unfair “witness bolstering.”
“Parading six women in front of a jury to say they were also sexually assaulted by the defendant is extremely prejudical,” she argued.
Lazaro also questioned whether the womens’ accounts were truly independent to one another, and argued that some of the witnesses did not come forward to police — or name Green as their attacker — until after a Salt Lake Tribune story was published last July.
Cannell took the matter under advisement Thursday, saying he will announce his ruling in writing. A telephone conference was set for Sept. 27, where attorneys may set trial dates.
Several of the women publicly aired allegations in a Salt Lake Tribune story published in July 2016, just after Green had signed a contract to play football in the NFL.
Each of the four women included in the July 2016 story had previously reported their alleged assaults to police. The Tribune’s reporting prompted Cache County prosecutors to re-examine sexual-assault allegations lodged against Green in 2015. Other alleged victims have come forward, and since July, prosecutors have investigated at least 15 sexual-assault allegations against Green.
Prosecutors have highlighted the similarities among many of the women’s accounts: Most met Green on the dating app Tinder, the women testified, or on USU’s campus. Most had agreed to watch a movie at Green’s apartment, where he subsequently allegedly raped or sexually assaulted them. And most were allegedly assaulted the first time they were alone with Green.
Lazaro, meanwhile, has emphasized that many of the women could not recall some details of the alleged assaults, and that they did not scream or yell for help. Most did not immediately report to police, she argued in court, and many did not get a rape kit examination.
Green, 23, is being held in the Cache County jail without the opportunity to post bail.