Trial for alleged Pentacrest rapist begins today

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 27, 2012 6:30 AM

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The trial for a former UI student accused of sexual assault will begin today.

Evan Pfeifer is accused of sexual abuse in connection with an allegedly raping a woman on the Pentacrest in October 2010.

The alleged victim will testify during the trial, said Anne Lahey, an assistant Johnson County prosecutor, during a pretrial hearing Monday.

Mark Brown, Pfeifer’s attorney, and Lahey agreed to a variety of motions at the hearing including: the use of Facebook posts from the alleged victim, and findings from the University of Iowa’s investigation into the reported rape.

Sixth District judge Mitchell Turner ruled that Brown must request a hearing, away from the jury, if he would like to use the posts during trial. Brown specifically mentioned one post from the day the alleged victim reported the incident characterizing it as “unusual message” about sexual activity. He further said additional messages were about partying and drinking. Lahey said the posts were irrelevant to the case and were trying to portray the victim as “unflattering.”

Brown and Lahey also agreed to not use findings or materials from the UI’s investigation unless the defense “opened the door to it,” but Lahey would also have to request a hearing before findings could be presented.

Pfeifer was arrested by UI police in April 2011, and he was suspended indefinitely and banned from campus on Jan. 28.

According to the police complaint, a video from Rienow Hall shows Pfeifer entering the dorm on Oct. 3, 2010, at roughly 4:10 a.m. wearing a jacket matching the witness’ description. Documents also stated Pfeifer’s DNA is consistent with DNA found on the alleged victim.

Pfeifer’s trial is expected to run four to five days starting at 9 a.m. today. He faces up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.

by Brent Griffiths

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