On January 10th, 2019, a mostly female jury found Albert N. Wilson, a 23-year-old University of Kansas student, guilty of raping a woman he met at a nightclub near campus.
Douglas County District Judge Sally Pokorny sentenced him to 147 months (over twelve years) in prison.
On the night of September 10th, 2016, Mr. Wilson met his accuser at The Jayhawk Cafe nightclub, known as the Hawk. They were in line to get into the ‘Boom Boom Room’, a dark and crowded dance floor in the basement of the club.
At the time, Mr. Wilson was 20 years of age and used a friend’s ID to enter the nightclub. The accuser, a then 17-year old high school student, was not asked for identification by the club at all.
The Accuser’s Testimony
The accuser testified at trial that she was drinking before going on the dancefloor. She stated that when on the dancefloor, Wilson lifted up her skirt and sexually assaulted her. She testified that Wilson then led her out of the bar, drunkenly stumbling, to his house a couple of blocks away.
The accuser stated in testimony that she told Wilson, “No, I’m too drunk, I can’t do this,” but Wilson persisted to hold her down and rape her anyway. According to the accuser, she then left Wilson’s home to return to the bar. She met her cousin there, who she originally came to the club with, and the following day she proceeded to go to a hospital for a sexual assault examination.
Mr. Wilson’s Testimony
Mr. Wilson testified that on the dance floor, he and the accuser were consensually kissing and touching each other in a somewhat sexual manner. He stated that he did not have the impression that the accuser was intoxicated.
Mr. Wilson stated that to the contrary of his accuser’s testimony that she stumbled out of the nightclub drunkenly, she, in fact, stumbled on a crack in the sidewalk while walking back to his home. According to Wilson, after asking if she was okay, the accuser jumped onto Mr. Wilson and wrapped her arms and legs around him while continuing to kiss him.
Mr. Wilson said that although consent was not completely verbalized, he believed that they had reached a consensus to proceed to his home and have sexual intercourse. He testified that sexual intercourse never took place.
Mr. Wilson estimated that the two were inside his room for about five minutes before leaving and going back to the nightclub. He testified that his accuser came upstairs with him and she laid on his bed. They then continued to kiss, according to Mr. Wilson, but he never removed her clothes nor did they have sexual intercourse.
He said that he got a text from his friend stating “where you at” and a missed call. He then decided to go see what his friend needed. At the point of telling his accuser that he was leaving, she gave him a “mad look”, according to Mr. Wilson, then they both walked back toward the bar.
The Evidence Presented
At 12:15 AM, surveillance video shows Mr. Wilson and his accuser walking down 14th street to his home, two blocks away, while holding hands.
Surveillance footage of the nightclub did not show the accuser stumbling or being led away by Mr. Wilson as she had testified. Footage also showed that the two were in Wilson’s home for approximately five minutes before returning to the nightclub.
Google Maps states that it takes roughly five minutes to reach Mr. Wilson’s home from the Hawk nightclub by foot. The pair left the nightclub at 12:15 AM. Assuming Google Maps’ calculations are correct, they would have reached Mr. Wilson’s home at 12:20 AM. Surveillance footage shows that the two arrived back at the nightclub at 12:30 AM. Meaning, that they would have had to leave Mr. Wilson’s home at 12:25 AM to get back to the club at the time they did; heavily suggesting that only five minutes were spent in Mr. Wilson’s home as was said in his testimony.
When walking back to the nightclub from Mr. Wilson’s home, surveillance video shows that he and the accuser were not holding hands this time.
Forensic examination found no seminal fluid on the accuser’s clothing or vaginal swab. No corroborating DNA evidence was presented to the court.
Case Made by the Defense
Wilson’s state-appointed defense attorney, Forrest Lowry, argued that because there is no DNA evidence of penetration; that the surveillance video shows that she was not led out by Mr. Wilson nor was drunkenly stumbling and that only five minutes could have been spent at Mr. Wilson’s home, there is nothing to corroborate the accuser’s story that Wilson had forced sexual intercourse with her. In addition, this contradictory surveillance video heavily puts the accuser’s story into question. Furthermore, even disregarding all of these variables, the accuser’s testimony is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt of Wilson’s crime.
After the verdict was reached, Wilson’s attorney asked the judge to disregard sentencing guidelines out of a lack of corroborating evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and to grant Wilson probation, or at least a shorter prison sentence. The District Judge denied the request.
Case Made by the Prosecution
The prosecution’s case solely relied on hearsay, circumstantial evidence, and the flimsy testimony of the accuser which has been heavily put to question as suggested by Wilson’s defense attorney.
Nevertheless, the jury, mostly comprised of female jurors, found Albert Wilson guilty of one count of rape. Douglas County District Judge Sally Porkony, presiding over the case, sentenced him to a little over twelve years in prison.
Wilson had no criminal history prior to this rape charge. His friends and family described him to be a “selfless young man with good character, a good work ethic, and big goals for his life.”
Albert was a Wichita Southeast High School football player who attained an associate degree from a community college. He then transferred to Kansas University. His defense attorney stated that Mr. Wilson wanted to become a sports journalist the night before the alleged incident and was dreaming of graduating from Kansas University.
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