Brigham City • When allegations that he sexually assaulted several women became public more than two years ago, former Utah State University football star Torrey Green denied that he did anything wrong but said little else.
On Monday, his attorneys, during the second week of his rape trial, launched his defense, beginning by questioning the Logan police detective who first looked into any complaints against the charismatic athlete with NFL potential.
Green is on trial for 11 felonies filed in connection with the reports of six women who say Green sexually abused them between 2013 and 2015 when he was a student in Logan. Though several of the women reported their allegations to Logan police in 2015, Green was not charged with any crimes until more than a year later.
His defense team’s first witness, Detective Kendall Olsen, had investigated several reports of sexual assault against Green. Defense attorney Skye Lazaro focused her questioning on Green’s willingness to be interviewed — and also on where the case ended up after the detective filed his report. Specifically, that Deputy Cache County Attorney Barbara Lachmar — one of two prosecutors currently taking Green’s case to trial — declined to file charges in connection to one alleged victim’s allegations in April 2015.
In that case, the woman, identified in previous Tribune coverage by the pseudonym “Catherine,” reported to police that Green sexually assaulted her in January 2015 after she went to his apartment to watch a movie.
The woman testified last week that she told Green she didn’t want to have sex, but he forced himself on her.
Afterward, she said Green told her, “You’re not the kind of girl who would report a rape, right? Because that would ruin my career.”
She perceived the comment as a threat.
“The fact that he was the one who used the word ‘rape,’ I knew that he knew that what he did was wrong,” she testified.
Lachmar re-examined Catherine’s case and others after The Salt Lake Tribune published a story in July 2016 outlining four alleged assaults involving Green that Olsen had investigated and where little action was taken.
During cross-examination, Deputy Cache County Attorney Spencer Walsh cast some of the blame for charges not being filed in Catherine’s case on Olsen’s investigative techniques. At the time he interviewed Catherine, Olsen had only been investigating sexual assaults for about six months.
Olsen had directed Catherine to make a recorded phone call to Green from the police station to ask about their sexual encounter. Olsen had written the words “one nighter” on a piece of paper, according to testimony, an indicator that Catherine should ask whether it was a one-night stand.
In the phone call, she asked Green if he had interest in pursuing a relationship, or if she was just someone he would call to have sex with. She also asked him if he heard her saying “no” during sex, which Green denied.
Walsh noted that Olsen did not put in his report that it was his idea to frame the conversation as a possible “one-night stand.” Without that context, he said, the call appears to be two people discussing consensual sex — implying this could be why Lachmar initially declined to file charges.
The prosecutor also criticized Olsen for never getting confrontational with Green and never asking hard questions. He characterized the detective’s interactions with Green as treating him “with kid gloves.”
When Walsh asked why he wasn’t more confrontational, Olsen struggled to give an explanation.
“It could be not [being] confident, not sure,” he said, “And being new, not having a lot of experience. I don’t know, I can’t give you an exact reason.”
But later, Olsen said this was also an investigative technique, to downplay the allegations in order to get a suspect to feel relaxed and more forthcoming with information.
“That was my hope,” he said.
Olsen told jurors he did not know at that time of the allegations stemming from the five other women who testified last week.
The detective did investigate four accusations of sexual assault against Green in 2015, but little action was taken then. Details about those investigations were not discussed in his testimony Monday, likely because of evidence rules that determine how much outside information a jury can consider when hearing a case.
Also on Monday, jurors heard from a co-worker of a different alleged victim, who recalled a conversation she had with her co-worker in the summer 2015. She had asked her co-worker if she was dating anyone, the woman testified, and her friend said she had been on a date with someone named Torrey who played football.
She then made a comment about the size of his genitals, the co-worked recalled.
“It was [said] in a light-hearted manner,” the woman testified.
Another woman who is friends with Green testified for the defense Monday, saying she met him on Tinder and that even when she slept in the same bed with him one weekend, he never forced himself on her sexually. She described him as “gentlemanly.”
Last week, each of the six alleged victims pointed out Green as her attacker, each saying he sexually assaulted her during their first dates. Lachmar described Green as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” in her opening statements, telling jurors he used his charm to “lure” and “disarm” women, to try to get them alone before forcing sex on them. Several of the alleged victims reported that they first met Green on the dating app Tinder. All six women reported they were assaulted during their first time alone with Green in his apartment.
Five of the women say Green put on a movie before the alleged assault, and five said Green had told each of them “she would enjoy it.”
Lazaro told jurors in her opening statement that the women accusing Green of sexual assault were upset with Green for various reasons — because he did not want to go on a second date, or because he was at a party with a different woman, for example. She also said the women were “needing attention.”
Lazaro hinted that Green may testify at his trial when she said during her opening statement that Green will tell jurors himself that rape is “despicable” and “reprehensible.”
Green’s trial is moving more quickly than anticipated. It was originally scheduled to last three weeks, but it may take only half that long. Attorneys told the judge Monday that the defense might rest its case Tuesday, and closing arguments could come as soon as Wednesday.
The trial is being held in Brigham City after Judge Brian Cannell ruled that it would be unlikely to find an impartial jury in Cache County because of the “interrelationship” of the Logan community and Utah State University.
A seventh victim, who reported that she was assaulted during a party at Green’s apartment, will not testify at this trial. A judge ruled last year that her account was not similar to the others. Her case will be tried separately.