WARSAW — The first four witnesses testified today, April 23, for the jury trial involving a Warsaw man accused of rape.
Todd Lynn Cornett II is facing one charge of rape, a level 3 felony. The incident allegedly occurred in June 2018 when Cornett is accused of raping a female who was intoxicated.
During the opening statements, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz explained the series of events that allegedly led up to the crime. According to Voelz, the crime occurred after the victim had consumed alcohol and was blacking out from overconsumption. “After you hear the evidence, we are confident you’ll find that Todd Cornett, the dependant, raped (A.A.)”
Defense Attorney David Kolbe told the jury that the sexual intercourse was consensual. “There’s not going to be any denial that they had sex in the truck,” said Kolbe. “Whether she remembers it or not, she consented to everything that happened.”
The State’s first witness was the victim in the case, referred to as A.A.
A. A. testified that on the evening in question, she was hanging out with five people, including Cornett, at his residence. Throughout the evening, the group went swimming, had a bonfire and played a drinking game together. A.A. admitted that she had “quite a bit” to drink but could not specify the exact amount.
She told the jury that Cornett helped her to the bathroom and that was when she began to black out. According to A.A., she remembers being dragged outside by Cornett and then remembers being inside his truck, engaged in sexual intercourse. After that, her next memory is of being back inside, clothed.
According to A.A., she told Cornett to stop multiple times during the sexual intercourse and attempted to push him off of herself. A.A. told the jurors that the next morning, she met with another friend who picked her up. Together, they went to a local park, where she disposed of her underwear. The clothing she claimed to be wearing during the incident was submitted into evidence. She reported the crime to police the next day.
During the cross-examination, A.A. admitted that while some of her memories of the alleged crime were very clear, she was unable to remember a lot of details. A.A. was visibly upset on the stand and repeatedly had to be reminded of the sequence of events she had originally given. She also admitted to Kolbe that she did not scratch Cornett, kick him or scream during the alleged incident.
The second witness was Rochelle Fretz, the friend A.A. met with the following day after the alleged crime took place. Fretz testified that she met A.A. that day and that A.A. “was upset.” She further stated that A.A.’s demeanor has changed and “she’s not like herself” since the incident.
The third witness called to the stand was Warsaw Police Department Patrolman Dan Clemens.
Clemens explained to the jury that he was on duty and dispatched to a possible rape case at the police department. Upon arrival, Clemens conducted a general interview with A.A. and A.A.’s mother. During the interview, it was discovered that A.A. had discarded her underwear but they were unable to be located when the park was searched. After the interview, Clemens turned the investigation over to a more experienced officer, Detective Lieutenant Paul Heaton. Clemens had no further involvement with the case besides the first general interview.
The fourth and final witness of the day was Joyce Moss, a sexual assault nurse examiner for the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center. Moss explained that A.A. was brought to the center around 21 hours after the alleged rape for an examination. During the examination, A.A. told Moss a verbal account of the crime. Moss then performed a physical examination, which included documenting various bruises and abrasions on A.A.’s body. The largest injury was a 7 cm abrasion to A.A.’s left leg. The jury was shown photographs documenting these images.
Moss then testified that no injuries were noted during the examination of A.A.’s genital region. She explained that there may not have been any injuries received during the rape or that the injuries had since healed, but that the absence of genital injuries did not eliminate the possibility of rape. “There are more times that we do not see injury than we do see injury,” said Moss.
During the cross-examination, Moss reiterated that there were no vaginal injuries and also testified that A.A. did not have any injuries to her inner thigh area.
Moss’ testimony was the final witness for the first day of the trial. The trial will continue and is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday, April 24.