Trial begins for Tompkins deputy accused of rape

first_img Your Crime & Courts news is made possible with support from: Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic sexual details some readers may find disturbing. ITHACA, N.Y. — The trial for Scott Walters, a Tompkins County Sheriff’s deputy, has started this week. He is accused of raping a woman who was “physically helpless” at his Lansing residence in February 2013. In opening statements Monday, the defense and prosecution gave an overview of their cases — and at the center was whether the woman did or could consent.Walters, 34, was originally charged in 2017 and has been indicted on three charges, two counts of first-degree rape — one as an accomplice and one that he was the principal — and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. He has denied the claims against him.• Related: Court documents: Tompkins deputy accused of rape appeared ‘visibly nervous,’ denied claimsWalters was charged with rape and sexual abuse alongside another man, Matthew Pinney, whose trial was expected to take place earlier this year. However, his case was adjourned just before the trial was set to start until after Walters’ trial. On Monday, he was called to testify in Walters’ trial.Because Walters is a Tompkins County deputy, Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary has been assigned as special prosecutor, something that was challenged but eventually upheld.Walters has been on paid administrative leave since the charges were filed in December 2017, according to Sheriff Derek Osborne. He added, “our union contract requires members to be paid while on administrative leave.”After a jury was selected Friday, Fazzary and Defense Attorney Veronica Gorman gave opening statements Monday morning in Tompkins County Court.Prosecution: ‘All of a sudden she can’t feel her legs. She can’t talk’Fazzary in opening statements outlined some of the evidence and testimony the jury would hear during the trial and gave an overview of what allegedly happened the night the woman told police she was raped and possibly drugged. He said this is not a case of forcible rape, where the victim was physically overpowered, but that she was physically helpless “such that she couldn’t say yes or no to the sex that occurred.”Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary addresses the jury during opening statements. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice) Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary addresses the jury during opening statements. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)She went to the Crossroads Bar in Lansing sometime after 9 p.m., Fazzary said, where she met up with a friend, who ended up leaving before her. Matthew Pinney was at the bar, and so was Scott Walters. At the bar, Fazzary said she had about two drinks “over a significant period of time.” When the woman went to leave, Fazzary said Pinney asked for a ride, which she gave him. When she dropped him off, she went inside to see his new puppies. At some point, they went next door to Walters’ house, where they had more drinks, all made by Walters.“All of a sudden she can’t feel her legs. She can’t talk. She can still hear but she realized something was going on with her body that she’s not used to,” Fazzary said. From that point, he said the woman has “snapshot memories” of what happened to her.Pinney was the second witness called to testify Monday, following testimony from the woman’s then-husband.Though Pinney has previously given statements to police and said in sworn testimony that he had consensual sex with the woman, he said Monday that he had lied. He said he had also lied that she was flirtatious. During testimony Monday, Pinney said he was trying to protect himself. He also admitted to trying to pay the woman money, about $10-$15,000 he said, to not testify, which she did not accept.In exchange for testifying at Walters’ trial, Pinney is receiving a plea bargain, Fazzary said. Instead of facing a felony charge of first-degree rape, he will plead guilty to two misdemeanors, Pinney said. During testimony Monday, Pinney said he got a ride to the Crossroads Bar in Lansing and recognized the woman and Walters there. He said he had “quite a few” drinks and “had a pretty good buzz on.” He said near closing time, around 1 a.m., he asked the woman for a ride home and she agreed since they live close. Fazzary asked Pinney, “At that time, did you have a hope or a desire?” He replied, “Yeah I was hoping to get her home and have sex with her.”When they got to Pinney’s house, he said, his dog just had puppies so he invited her in to see them. They were there about 20 minutes, Pinney said, when Walters called and invited them to his house which was next door. There, Pinney said, they hung around and had some mixed drinks made by Walters, including a “creamsicle” one he said Walters retrieved from the refrigerator for the woman. Sometime after that, he said, the woman appeared to get “woozy” and was “becoming out of it.” He said she wasn’t talking and “wasn’t really doing anything.” He said Walters took her to the bedroom and he followed. He said Walters was on the bed but he doesn’t remember what he was doing.Pinney then said he had “sexual intercourse” with her. Asked “Did she ask you to do that?” by Fazzary, Pinney said, “No.” He said he didn’t ejaculate and “got weirded out by the situation” and didn’t want to be there anymore so he left. When he went back to his house, he said, he saw her ex-husband – they were married at the time – leave their house across the street and called Walters to let him know that her husband was out looking for her.During testimony, her ex-husband said he woke up around 4:45 a.m. Feb. 2, and after not seeing his wife in bed, drove to her friend’s house that she had gone out with first to see if she was there, before checking the Crossroads Bar and a gas station. He eventually got a call from Walters asking if he knew where his wife was. When he said he didn’t, Walters allegedly told him that she was passed out in Pinney’s driveway. Her ex-husband testified that when he found her, she was a “wreck.” He said she was hanging out of the car in the driver’s seat puking and her hair and pants were wet. He said she couldn’t communicate or move. When got her home and undressed her, he said he noticed that her underwear was inside out.He said he had a conversation with Walters, though he couldn’t recall specific details. When Fazzary asked if Walters had mentioned he was drinking with his wife, he said no and didn’t indicate she had been at his house at all. Walters helped drive one of the cars back, the ex-husband testified. Fazzary asked her ex-husband if he had ever seen his wife in that condition before, and he said, “No.”‘We should talk about the elephant in the room’Defense Attorney Veronica Gorman addresses the jury during opening statements. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice) Defense Attorney Veronica Gorman addresses the jury during opening statements. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)During opening statements, Defense Attorney Veronica Gorman representing Walters said he had no idea he was being investigated for the incident until he got a knock on the door by New York State Police investigators in October 2017. She said he was surprised because he had lived across the street and had minimal but “neighborly” contact after the night in 2013. She said they also remained Facebook friends. She said the jury will have to determine if the woman was “physically helpless” and how that was communicated to Walters.“Keep in mind, in no statement or testimony does … she ever say that Scott Walters had sexual intercourse with her. She remembers Matthew Pinney having sex with her. I submit to you that’s significant. And we should talk about the elephant in the room. The three of them had a consensual threesome,” Gorman said.She went on to say the “linchpin” in this case is consent. Going back through the story, Gorman said that at the Crossroads Bar, when Walters arrived, he saw Pinney and the woman and that she said they were flirting. She said she went back to Pinney’s house, and though the woman has testified she felt uncomfortable, Gorman said she still went into Pinney’s house and then to Walters’ house, though her house was nearby.She said it will be up to the jury to determine whose testimony is credible in this case, including Pinney, who she said will “say whatever he needs to to get that deal.” She told the jury to take note of inconsistencies in the testimonies they will hear.The trial continues Tuesday afternoon with further testimony from Pinney.Featured image: Scott Walters. (Photo by Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)center_img Tagged: Matthew Pinney, Scott Walters, tompkins county, trial Kelsey O’Connor Kelsey O’Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor. More by Kelsey O’Connorlast_img read more

The controversial tennis umpire at the center of the Serena Williams US Open drama

first_imgSeptember 10, 2018 /Sports News – National The controversial tennis umpire at the center of the Serena Williams US Open drama FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailMike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA(NEW YORK) — It’s hard to upstage Serena Williams on the tennis court or to take away the shine from 20-year-old record breaker Naomi Osaka, who became the first Japanese tennis slam winner.But Carlos Ramos did just that.The longtime tennis umpire became the subject of widespread scrutiny on Saturday night after a series of calls against Williams during the U.S. Open women’s finals.Ramos is a gold badge-level umpire, who has been the deciding force in a number of high profile matches, but his calls in the finals match prompted outrage both on and off the court.Ramos gave Williams a penalty because her coach was admittedly coaching from off the court, which is barred in the sport though it is widely understood to be a common practice.The second penalty came after Williams later smashed her racquet against the ground.The third incident came shortly after that, when Williams yelled at Ramos over the call, with her calling him a “thief” which then prompted him to classify that as verbal abuse towards the umpire. Because that was her third penalty of the game, the rules of the sports mandate that it prompts a game penalty.Katrina Adams, United States Tennis Association (USTA) president and CEO, talked about the controversy with ESPN the day after the match.“I would say last night is unfortunate,” Adams said to ESPN. “And we have to have consistency because when you look at what the women, in this case, Serena, is feeling, we watch the guys do this all the time. They’re badgering the chair umpires on the changeover. Nothing happens.”As for Ramos, Adams said that “umpires are reviewed throughout the tournaments” and nothing had suggested that he should not be assigned to the women’s final.“His record was good so there was no reason for us to not be putting him in the chair,” Adams said.“We have to treat each other fairly and the same and I know that what Serena did and her behavior was not welcome and there could have been a line that should have been drawn,” Adams said. “But when you look at Carlos or the umpire in this particular situation, it’s a ‘judgment call’ to give that last penalty, because she called him a thief? They’ve been called a lot worse.”The International Tennis Federation (ITF) released a statement of support for Ramos Monday, standing by Ramos’ calls but noting that the situation was a “regrettable incident.”“Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis,” the ITF said in its statement. “Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the U.S. Open’s decision to find Serena Williams for the three offenses.”The statement went on to read: “It is understandable that this high profile and the regrettable incident should provoke debate. At the same time, it is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.”Ramos has umpired an Olympic final match between Andy Murray and Roger Federer and been the one on the court deciding the fate of all four grand slam tennis tournaments, but there has been a share of controversial calls beyond this most recent case.Wimbledon 2018: Novak DjokovicEarlier this season, Ramos was the umpire in a match between the Serbian superstar and opponent Kei Nishikori.Ramos cited Djokovic for two violations during the match, the first of which coming when Djokovic hit his racquet against the ground. Ramos reportedly said that he damaged the famed grass court used in the British tournament, and Djokovic balked.“I just asked him whether he thought honestly that I damaged the court with the racket that I throw. I mean, anybody who saw the match, I mean, saw that literally I kind of touched the grass,” Djokovic said later after the match.The alleged roughness against the grass wasn’t the only issue that arose over that call, as Nishikori allegedly smashed the ground with his racquet during that same match, but Ramos said he didn’t see it so Nishikori received no penalty.French Open 2017: Rafael NadalAnother male tennis star who has publicly criticized Ramos was Rafael Nadal, this time at Roland-Garros.Nadal had been issued two warnings for taking too much time during the crossovers in the game when players take a brief break while switching sides of the court.“I say it with sadness, but he is an umpire who scrutinizes me more and who fixates on me more,” Spanish-speaking Nadal told the media after the match.“He also pressured me about coaching,” Nadal said of Ramos, according to Spanish-language sports newspaper Marca.“I have respect for him and all I ask is for that to be reciprocated,” Nadal said, according to Marca.French Open 2016: Venus WilliamsEven though Serena Williams’ squabble with Ramos is the one garnering headlines now, her older sister Venus Williams made a similar complaint against Ramos back in 2016.Like Serena Williams, Venus Williams was cited by Ramos for a coaching violation during the 2016 French Open.Venus Williams responded indignantly, saying: “Honestly, I’m 36 years old. Never in my career have I had a coaching violation. No, I don’t do that. Just don’t even go there.”Two years, a different continent and a different Williams sister later, Serena Williams voiced a very similar complaint.“You may have thought that was coaching but I’m telling you it was not,” Serena Williams said Saturday. “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. Written bycenter_img Beau Lundlast_img read more

Moon Hooch Offers Up New ‘Joshua Tree EP’ For Free [Listen]

first_imgWhen Moon Hooch‘s Wenzl McGowen, Mike Wilbur, and James Muschler decided to rent a house in the Mojave Desert to record new music, the natural symbiosis that was created from their days of hiking Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding landscape translated into the creation of eight brand new tracks. The Joshua Tree EP is now available for free download here.The band had this to say with regards to their entire experience at Joshua Tree:“We rented a house in the Mojave desert just outside of Joshua Tree National Park. We set up a little studio and tried to record an album, but we couldn’t come up with anything. After struggling for several days we decided to try a new approach. We got together in the same room with our instruments and said, “Let’s just hit it.” We started playing whatever came to our minds and somehow this process created 8 songs. Don’t ask us where they came from, but we certainly enjoyed bringing them to this planet.Joshua Tree National Park was an incredibly inspiring atmosphere which helped to open up our minds and ears. Every day we would hike the dead sandstone mountains and take in the dry desert air, allowing for a new type of musical expression we’ve never experienced before. After a few days of struggling to compose things individually we decided to get together and create spontaneously. Images of desert animals and Joshua Trees flashed before our eyes while new sounds emerged from our instruments. We hope you enjoy what we’ve come up with!”Download the EP at the following link. Feel free to make donations as well! Listen to the album below:last_img read more

The Latest: Chelsea makes hotel available for free

first_imgThe Latest: Chelsea makes hotel available for free Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):___1:20 p.m. March 18, 2020 More AP sports: and,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Premier League team Chelsea is making a hotel located on the grounds of its Stamford Bridge stadium available free of charge for London’s medical workers during the coronavirus outbreak.The club says Russian owner Roman Abramovich will cover the costs of providing the accommodation for staff of the National Health Service who “will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes.”Chelsea says the offer is initially for a two-month period and will be reconsidered depending on circumstances.The entire hotel will be given up for medical workers if necessary.___ 1 a.m.Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and pop star wife Ciara have announced they are donating 1 million meals through Seattle’s Food Lifeline to help provide meals for those in need during the coronavirus outbreak in the region.“Everything we do together makes a difference,” Ciara said in a video posted to her Twitter account. “And together we will conquer this tough time that we’re going through.”According to Food Lifeline’s website, the organization provides the equivalent of 134,000 meals daily and had 58 million pounds of food sourced last year.___ Associated Press last_img read more

Andre and Jordan Ayew announce return to Black Stars

first_imgMidfielder Andre Ayew has confirmed he and his brother Jordan have returned to the Black Stars after a crisis meeting with Ghana President John Mahama on Tuesday, can exclusively reveal.Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah and Ghana FA Vice President Fred Crentsil were also inside the meeting held at the Flagstaff House, the seat of government, in Accra.The fruitful discussion will see the Olympique Marseille duo available for selection for Ghana’s final Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier against Zambia at home.Andre quit the national team claiming he was unhappy over some of the management members of the team.The 23-year-old was axed from Ghana’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations squad after failing to report early at their pre-tournament camping base in Abu Dhabi, UAE.His brother Jordan simultaneously rendered in his resignation insisting he wants to be guaranteed first team place after being excluded from the squad.last_img read more