Friday 25 May 2018

US rape trial told student's clothing not found at scene

Jason Lee is accused of raping an Irish J1 student
Jason Lee is accused of raping an Irish J1 student

Orlaith Farrell

The trial of a former Goldman Sachs executive accused of raping an Irish student in New York has heard that a dress and underwear belonging to the alleged victim were not recovered from the scene, despite extensive searches.

A crime scene investigator and detectives searched the East Hampton holiday rental of the accused Jason Lee for a "peach dress and grey panties" but were unable to find them.

Jennifer Tripoli, a forensic scientist, told Suffolk County Criminal Court that despite a thorough search of the house and pool area, they were unable to recover the items.

In opening statements to Judge Barbara Kahn last week, prosecutor Kerriann Kelly said that investigators could not find the student's dress and underwear at the scene but "seven months later a box arrives miraculously".

The items were sent to the prosecutor's office courtesy of an investigator for the defendant, with no explanation for where they had been, who had them or what was done to them, she added.

Ms Tripoli testified that during her investigation of the property at Clover Leaf Lane on August 21, 2013, she discovered three stains of unknown origin under black light in one of the bathrooms on the ground floor of the house, including one on the floor.

She also recovered a heart-shaped ear-ring under towels in the same room.

Mr Lee was arrested at the luxury home he rented with his wife in East Hampton, accused of sexually assaulting the student in the bathroom while her friend and brother partied nearby.

The 37-year-old met the student at a local nightclub, before she returned with him to his $33,000 (€31,000) a month rental property at 4am on the morning of August 20, 2013.

The J1 student, who was 20-years-old at the time, told police that Mr Lee forced his way into the bathroom, pinned her down with his hand over her mouth and raped her.

Mr Lee denies charges of rape and assault.

When police officers arrived on the scene, they found the former banking boss "curled up in a foetal position" in the back of a Range Rover.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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