Trial ordered in rape case

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SANDPOINT — An 18-year-old Bonner County man was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for forcibly raping a longtime friend earlier this year.

Aubrey Raven Stevens was bound over to 1st District Court after the alleged victim, 17, testified that Stevens forced himself on her at a Sagle home in the waning hours of Feb. 13 or the early hours of Feb. 14.

The teen testified during a preliminary hearing on Bonner County Magistrate Court that she invited Stevens over to hang out and watch a movie. She said Stevens began touching her thigh and they ended up kissing. She said that she was initially open to sexual contact with Stevens, whom she has known for more than a decade, but revoked consent once he started removing her clothes, which tore her underwear.

When she resisted, the teen testified that Stevens placed his forearm across her upper body and told him “no.”

“I said, ‘no.’ I said, ‘Please, no,’ actually,” the teen told the court.

The state also entered into evidence a photo of marks and bruising on her upper body and below her chin.

Under cross-examination, the teen admitted drinking wine, but said under redirect examination that it did not diminish her ability to recall the events during the alleged sexual assault. She denied positioning herself on the bed so she could touch him or placing her legs across her body, but admitted allowing Stevens to kiss her.

The teen told the court that she disclosed the incident to her boyfriend, which appeared to raise the possibility that the rape allegation was fabricated as cover for straying outside the relationship.

Stevens’ defense counsel, Sandpoint attorney Rex Finney, asked the teen if she made up the allegations of non-consensual sex.

“No,” the teen answered.

Stevens did not take the stand and invoked his right to remain silent.

Finney argued there were to many inconsistencies in the account to find probable cause for charges of forcible sexual penetration. Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Katie Murdock said the testimony was clear that Stevens did not take “no” for an answer.

“She did not consent to it,” said Murdock.

Judge Justin Julian found there was probable cause to try Stevens based on the teen’s testimony.

“I find the testimony of (the alleged victim) credible,” Julian said.

Stevens is free on bail while the case is pending. He is scheduled to be arraigned on May 15.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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