SFU athlete headed to trial
Charges against a St. Francis University football player accused of raping a Penn State Altoona co-ed are headed to court.
In an emotional and sometimes contentious preliminary hearing Thursday before Magisterial District Judge Steven Jackson, a visibly upset 19-year-old sophomore testified Kalil Wynn, 18, of Edison, N.J., held her down and raped her early Nov. 11 after she invited him and two of his friends into her apartment.
Philip Masorti, one of Wynn’s defense attorneys, zeroed in on what he characterized as inconsistencies in the woman’s story, including the fact that she first gave police the name of one of Wynn’s friends as her attacker.
“She may have been raped, but not by him,” Masorti said as the prosecution wrapped up its case, which included testimony from the alleged victim and the Logan Township police officer who first made contact with her that morning.
The woman testified she was confused about her attacker’s name because Wynn and his two friends gave her the wrong name after she screamed at the three to get out of her apartment just before 5 a.m., after she said Wynn walked into her darkened Nittany Pointe bedroom, held her down and forcibly had sex with her.
She testified that after the assault, Wynn tried to calm her down by acting as though she had just cheated on her boyfriend and saying “everything would be OK.”
Assistant District Attorney Ilissa Zimmerman’s questions walked the victim through the alleged incident. At times the woman had to stop to compose herself, particularly when asked to recall intimate details to meet the legal burdens that the encounter was not consensual and was done by force.
Masorti hammered away at the victim’s story – that she met the three as she was walking home from a drinking party near the campus at around 3 a.m., that after they gave her a ride to her apartment they appeared at her door and asked for some water and that she made the men a pizza.
The woman testified that for the next hour, the four hung out at the apartment. She said the men seemed nice and because they had a mutual friend, she wasn’t worried about inviting three strangers into her apartment in the middle of the night.
She testified that when she said she wanted to go to bed, “That’s when things started getting weird.” She said two of the men followed her back to her room to “tuck her in” while the third was asleep on her couch.
Masorti pointed out the woman had testified her roommate was asleep in her own room next door and questioned why she didn’t call out for help, try to get away from Wynn or push a built-in panic button in the room that would alert security and police.
“I was frozen,” the alleged victim said. Several times the woman shot back at Masorti when he questioned her as to why she did or didn’t act a certain way.
“It’s easy to say what you should do,” she said. “When you are actually put in that situation, it’s different.”
Masorti also asked the woman why she only scratched Wynn’s back and not his face to get him to stop, suggesting that the scratches left on his lower back were ones of passion and not done as a way to collect DNA from her attacker, as she had told police.
“I knew he could easily be caught if I scratched him, that he could get off [me],” she said. “It was not out of passion.”
The alleged victim broke down several times during her tearful two hours on the stand. After her testimony, during a brief recess, her father lashed out at Wynn’s family and supporters sitting in the court.
“You know another victim has come forward,” the victim’s father said, before Altoona police, there for another case, entered the courtroom to bring order. Jackson admonished the gallery to show respect for the court and later in the hearing told both sides to leave separately and avoid contact with each other for the remainder of the case.
The second victim, from Edison, N.J., mentioned by the father was present for Wynn’s hearing but not in the courtroom. Police said that case remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed in that matter.
Robert Donaldson, also one of Wynn’s attorneys, said he learned of the second accuser Thursday morning and said it was his understanding the alleged incident occurred at least a year ago. Donaldson said he didn’t anticipate any charges coming out of the allegations in New Jersey.
Wynn remains free on a $50,000 unsecured bond and is due to appear again in Blair County Court in March.