A Tehachapi woman visiting her niece in Atascadero over Labor Day weekend in 2014 awoke after a night of heavy drinking to find the niece’s boyfriend raping her, the woman testified in an ongoing trial Thursday.
The testimony came during the emotional first day of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court trial of Rian Mabus, 31, of Paso Robles, who is facing charges of raping an intoxicated person and of raping a person who is “unconscious of the nature of the act.”
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, according to Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham.
However, if Mabus is convicted of both charges, the maximum sentence he can receive is 10 years, Cunningham said. Mabus is a former California National Guardsman.
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Deputy District Attorney Julie Antos said in her opening statement Wednesday that the victim — a 40-year-old identified in court as Jane Doe — was attacked during a last-minute trip to San Luis Obispo County during a busy holiday weekend.
The Tribune does not identify victims of sex crimes.
That’s why we’re here today: because a the defendant decided to have sex with an intoxicated person who was unable to give consent.
Deputy District Attorney Julie Antos
Antos said that in 2014, Jane Doe, her 16-year-old daughter and her daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend couldn’t find a camping spot and spent one night in a Pismo Beach hotel before contacting her 28-year-old niece, who invited the trio to stay at her Atascadero apartment.
On Aug. 31, the group — Doe, the two 16-year-olds, Doe’s niece, the niece’s 13-year-old son and Mabus — ate dinner and went for a short hike before returning to the apartment, where the adults began drinking cocktails while the teenagers watched TV.
Mabus was making the drinks, Antos said.
After a few hours, Jane Doe had consumed about five drinks and became very intoxicated, retreating several times to the bathroom to vomit, Antos said. Soon the group went to sleep, with the three teens sleeping in the living room, Mabus and Doe’s niece in the niece’s bedroom and Jane Doe remaining in the bathroom, where she claimed she lost consciousness.
Antos told the jury that Jane Doe awoke in a pool of vomit in her nephew’s bed with Mabus penetrating her vagina from behind and whispering her name in her ear. She drifted in and out of consciousness, Antos said, and did not realize what happened until she woke up alone the next morning.
“That’s why we’re here today: because the defendant decided to have sex with an intoxicated person who was unable to give consent,” Antos said. “Consent requires the person to know and understand the act.”
Ms. Doe convinced herself that she was drugged and that this incapacitated her.
Defense attorney Matthew Guerrero
In his opening statement, Defense Attorney Matthew Guerrero told the jury the two had consensual sex.
Guerrero said Mabus awoke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and encountered Jane Doe, who began kissing him. The two then went into the bedroom together, he said.
Guerrero suggested Jane Doe made the rape allegation because she was embarrassed she had sex with her niece’s boyfriend.
“She’s scared to death that her daughter saw something. Her state of mind was, ‘What would she think of me?’ ” Guerrero said. “Ms. Doe convinced herself that she was drugged and that this incapacitated her.”
Following the opening statements, Jane Doe took the stand, with her sister by her side for support. When asked to identify her alleged attacker, Doe pointed at Mabus and stared at him for several seconds before shaking her head and turning back to the prosecutor.
I couldn’t move. I felt like I was screaming and nothing was coming out — just frozen.
Jane Doe, recounting her alleged assault
Doe testified that she had about five drinks the entire day and was suspicious that Mabus drugged her drink because she had never gotten so sick from drinking.
Doe said she later awoke to Mabus raping her and pushing her face into a pool of vomit on the bed.
“I couldn’t move,” Doe said. “I felt like I was screaming and nothing was coming out — just frozen.”
Asked if she consented to the act, Doe replied: “How could I? I couldn’t even speak.”
The next morning, she found her underwear was wet and began to recall events from the night before.
“At first I thought that was the worst dream ever. Then I moved around and I thought, ‘That was real. That really happened,’ ” she said.
Doe said she was embarrassed about vomiting in the bed and texted her niece, who brought her Advil and took her to a laundromat to wash the sheets and her clothes.
She testified that she avoided Mabus the rest of the morning, and though the group had planned to go kayaking that day, Jane Doe — still feeling ill — said she couldn’t go and returned home with the two 16-year-olds.
Asked by Antos why she left, Jane Doe said: “I was afraid. ... I was afraid for my life, my kids’ lives. I wanted to get them out of there.”
Back in Tehachapi, Jane Doe testified that she spent the rest of the day in bed. When she returned to work the next day, her boss could tell something was wrong.
“I kept trying to bury it, but she kept pushing, and I broke,” Jane Doe said. Recounting the incident to her boss, “she said, ‘That’s rape.’ ”
The two went to a hospital, where a rape test was administered. The test would later confirm the presence of seminal fluid, and results later confirmed Mabus’ DNA. However, a toxicity test did not find any signs of drugs in Jane Doe’s system.
I didn’t do what you’re thinking I did.
Rape defendant Rian Mabus
Kern County officials contacted the Atascadero Police Department, which began an investigation. Atascadero Detective Nicholas Coughlin coordinated a “pretext” phone call with Jane Doe, in which she called Mabus about the incident with Coughlin listening in.
During the phone call — an audio recording of which was played for the jury Thursday — Mabus denies the two had sex or that he drugged her drink.
“What did you put in my drink, dude?” Doe asked in the recording.
“Nothing,” Mabus replies. “We all drank from the same mixer.”
After she asks if she needs to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, Mabus says in the recording: “I didn’t do what you’re thinking I did. I was in bed all night with (Doe’s niece).”
When Jane Doe tells him she “knows what happened,” Mabus hangs up.
Mabus was arrested on suspicion of rape on Sept. 17, 2014, and was released from the San Luis Obispo County Jail after posting $100,000 bail.
During cross-examination, Guerrero questioned Doe about inconsistencies in her story, asking how she remembered seeing Mabus’ tattooed arm during the alleged assault when she told the jury the room was “pitch black.” He also questioned why she didn’t report the incident the next morning and whether she felt scared that her daughter had witnessed her having sex with Mabus.
Testimony is expected to continue through next week in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.