Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday in Niagara County Court in the trial of a man accused of raping a friend’s girlfriend as she lay sleeping, groggy and sick in a South Street home after a night of bar hopping that followed a free downtown Lockport concert July 29, 2011.
Dalvan H. Robinson, 51, of Pennsylvania Avenue, was indicted in November 2012 on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse and third-degree rape after Lockport police received DNA evidence that linked Robinson to the alleged attack the morning of July 30, 2011.
Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Nichols, who is co-prosecutor with Elizabeth Donatello, told the jury that the victim, a Buffalo woman who had friends in Lockport, decided to do the right thing by not driving home.
“A fun night with friends turned into a nightmare,” Nichols said. “She was sleeping and sick, and he raped her.”
Nichols told the jury that the victim was pinned down, powerless and naked, and found herself waking up to Robinson on top of her, raping her.
“She was shocked and confused,” Nichols told the jury.
Defense Attorney George V.C. Muscato told the jury the sex was consensual and cautioned the jury to keep an open mind.
He said Robinson lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, with a woman and a child, but also owns the South Street home and stays with his friend, the victim’s boyfriend at the time, who was renting the apartment from him.
He said Robinson was confronted with the allegation six months after the incident by Lockport Police Detective Travis Mapes. Muscato said his client said some things he shouldn’t have.
“He was shocked and not truthful about having sex with her,” Muscato said. “The DNA says it was him. He did have sex with her, but it was consensual sex.”
Muscato said Robinson was ashamed because he had slept with his friend’s girlfriend, a friend who was “like brother to him.”
“He is not proud of what he did, but it is not a crime,” Muscato said.
The victim testified Tuesday that she came to Lockport that night to attend the free concert in Lockport and then walked with friends to two Main Street bars.
She said she doesn’t usually drink but joined friends and had three large drinks of Crown Royal and Red Bulls. She said that by 2 a.m., she had to leave and went with her boyfriend to the South Street home, where she remained sick for several hours.
She said the boyfriend left early that morning because he had to work, and she stayed since she was still feeling sick.
The woman became tearful as she told the jury of how she woke up, a little groggy, unsure of what was happening.
She told the jury that she later went home and showered several times.
“I felt dirty. I could still smell him on me,” she said. The woman then went to Sisters Hospital, where she was given a rape kit and met with police that same night.
Muscato tried to poke holes in her statement to detectives and grand jury testimony, finding several discrepancies in statements that she had sworn were true.