Public Safety Volunteer Found Not Guilty of Sexual Assault
Updated On: Feb 14 2014 07:19:37 PM AKST
Dwight O’Connor, a former public safety volunteer charged with three counts of sexual assault, was acquitted of two counts Friday. The jury was hung on the third count and the judge declared a mistrial.
In July of 2011 O'Connor picked up a hitchhiking woman, brought her to his workplace, and engaged in what he described as consensual sex. The woman accused him of rape.
On Monday, the victim was cross-examined by the O’Connor’s attorney. She said she wanted a ride to a friend’s house that night, where she planned on staying because she was homeless.
The woman admitted to drinking that night, and said she didn’t remember the beginning of the sexual encounter with O'Connor because she was blacked out. She says her memories start after the sexual contact had started, when she said “no.”
Both O'Connor and the woman agree that after the sexual encounter he drove her to her friend’s house. The woman said she then called Standing Together Against Rape to report the crime, but when she couldn't get through, she called police.
On Friday Deputy District Attorney Clint Campion said the judge declared a mistrial after the jury returned two “not guilty” verdicts. The jury was deadlocked on the third count after deliberating Thursday afternoon and almost all day Friday.
“If a judge is satisfied that further deliberations won’t produce new result, he (can) declare a mistrial,” Campion said.
Campion said the district attorney’s office has to option to re-prosecute, but “won’t make that decision immediately.”
He said prosecutors would have to assess the decision of jury and “think long and hard about the two other ‘not guilty’ verdicts.”
O'Connor was a long-time public safety volunteer in Anchorage, serving on the Anchorage Public Safety Advisory Commission for years as well as being a member of the Westside Community Patrol.
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