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Judge to consider reduced charges, acquittal for Everson

BY HAYLEY BRUCE | JANUARY 17, 2011 7:10 AM

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The first several days of former Hawkeye football player Cedric Everson’s sexual-abuse trial brought conflicting testimony, and a judge is now deciding whether the state’s case is enough for a jury to convict.

After three years, the case that brought controversy to the University of Iowa over its mishandling of the investigation — resulting in two top administrators being fired — and ruined two football players’ careers finally went to trial.

The alleged victim was the first to take the stand on Jan. 11, tearfully describing the night more than three years ago when Everson and former teammate Abe Satterfield allegedly sexually assaulted her in an empty Hillcrest dorm room.

Everson, 21, is charged with second-degree sexual abuse in connection with the alleged incident.

In her hour long testimony, the former University of Iowa athlete said she remembers drinking Malibu rum in her Hillcrest dorm room before going to a party. Her memory of many parts of the night is blurred, but she testified that she remembers going to a vacant dorm room with Satterfield and his then-teammate Jevon Pugh. The Daily Iowan does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.



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She said the two men began touching her below the waist, but Pugh eventually left. She then testified that she performed oral sex on Satterfield because she was afraid and wanted to satisfy him so he wouldn’t make her go further.

But Satterfield eventually forced himself on her, she testified.

“I remember him putting my legs behind my head and holding me down,” she said, breaking into tears. “I was telling him I didn’t want to do it, and it hurt so bad.”

However, when Satterfield testified on Wednesday, he painted the accuser as the “aggressor,” claiming she didn’t appear intoxicated and asked him if he had a condom and then helped him put it on.

Testimony regarding the young woman’s state of intoxication also varied. Her roommate and best friend both said she’d been drinking, and Pugh said she he could smell alcohol on her and was “messed up.”

Witnesses also had differing accounts of Everson’s involvement.

The woman said shedidn’t know Everson was involved in the incident until weeks later, when a UI police officer told her that his DNA was found on the alleged victim showing he had sexual contact with her.

Hawkeye football player Mike Daniels testified that Everson asked him to escort him to the room where the alleged incident occurred, and to wait outside for a few minutes before leaving. Everson told him he was “going to go do what [Satterfield] was doing” to the alleged victim, Daniels testified.

Daniels also said Everson “grabbed a large numbers of condoms” before going to the room, and after a few minutes, came out and gave Daniels a thumbs-up. The next day, Daniels said Everson told him he had had sex with the alleged victim.

However, Satterfield testified there was no deal for the two men to trade places during the night and had no conversation with Everson at the time Everson told him to get out of and later get back into bed with the alleged victim. He said he heard nothing while Everson was in the room.

After Johnson County assistant prosecutor Lahey rested her case Thursday, Everson’s attorney Leon Spies filed a motion for acquittal — a standard procedure in criminal trials — on the grounds that the state had not presented enough evidence for the jury of six women and nine men to convict his client beyond a reasonable doubt.

On Tuesday morning, the judge will announce whether Everson will be acquitted or have his charges reduced, or whether the trial will proceed with the current charges. According to experts, a decision to acquit is rare.

To be guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, the state must provide sufficient evidence that the defendant performed a sex act on the alleged victim, that the sex act was performed by force, against the alleged victim’s will or while the victim was incapacitated, and that the defendant was aided and abbeted by another person.

Spies argued the state didn’t provide enough evidence for the third prong.

“Mr. Satterfield said without contention that there was absolutely no arrangement for Mr. Everson to come back to the room … there was no arrangement for Mr. Everson to do anything,” he said.

Judge Paul Miller then suggested Everson’s charge be reduced to third-degree sexual-abuse, which does not require the defendant to be aided and abetted by another person.

Satterfield pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for his testimony against Everson, but what he told the jury arguably worsened the state’s case. It’s unclear whether Satterfield’s testimony about Everson’s presence in the room surprised Lahey.

Lahey also said the jury could infer what happened from Satterfield’s testimony.

“[Satterfield] wants people to believe he had absolutely no idea what happened. I think there is clear and reasonable inference that there is reason to believe he knew what was going on because when he got back in, she also appeared to be asleep — there wasn’t any evidence showing otherwise,” Lahey said. “Also, the talk about switching places, which clearly was done by the testimony of Satterfield, and Mr. Everson going up to Mike Daniels and giving him the thumbs-up sign.”

Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Third-degree sexual abuse is a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison — 15 years fewer than what Everson faces under the second-degree charge.

When court reconvenes on Tuesday at 9 a.m., Judge Miller expects to have a decision on Everson’s possible acquittal or charge reduction.


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