A former football player accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old took the stand Wednesday during his bench trial in Cook County.
Demarco Whitley faces five counts of sexual assault, stemming from a Jan. 29, 2010 sexual encounter he had with a girl who was 15 at the time, in a Rolling Meadows church parking lot. During the third day of his trial, Whitley and his sister testified that the girl alleging rape previously consented to perform oral sex.
The sister, Tiana Whitley, testified that Pierre Washington-Steel, Demarco's former teammate, asked the girl, while on speakerphone,“Can you knock him back?” which is slang for oral sex.
According to Tiana Whitley, the girl on the phone agreed and that’s when her brother Demarco went to take a shower before leaving in Washington-Steel’s black Ford Fusion for Rolling Meadows.
Prosecutors made it a point to emphasize that Tiana never told authorities about that phone conversation during the investigation.
Demarco Whitley took the stand and testified that his friend Washington-Steel had this girl that was “going,” which he said meant she liked to give oral sex. On the evening of Jan. 29, 2010, Whitley said he expected the girl would perform oral sex. When the two arrived in Rolling Meadows they picked up the girl and drove to a church parking lot. At no point were the doors locked said Whitley and he moved to the back seat and asked if she “were ready” after moving the seat forward and reclined forward.
That’s when Whitley “rolled down” her leggings, put on a condom and began to have intercourse. Whitley said he never sodomized the girl, which is alleged in the charges he faces.
When Whitley was brought to the Rolling Meadows Police Station in February 2011 to face those charges, after DNA matched him to the case, he said the police didn’t treat him well and Assistant State’s Attorney Melanie Fialkowski, who also questioned him, was “disrespectful.”
Whitley said he had “no win” against Fialkowski who kept saying “that’s not right” when he relayed the events that took place on Jan. 29, 2010.
Whitley signed a paper typed by Fialkowski, in which he stated the girl seemed “reluctant and hesistant.” That previous statement from February also said Washington-Steel forced the girl to perform oral sex by grabbing her head and pushing her head into his lap while Whitley had sex with her. But in court Whitley said that’s not how it happened. He wanted to correct the statement back in February 2011 but Fialkowski would not let him and promised that if he signed the paper he could leave.
“I thought after I signed the paper I would be going home,” said Whitley.
“You thought that if you signed a paper that said you had sex with a girl against her will you would go home?” asked Assistant State's Attorney Maria McCarthy.
Whitley’s defense argued the sex was consensual. Donna Rotunno, Whitley’s attorney, said the girl lied to her mother, police and friends about the incident because she didn’t want people to know what she did in the car.
Rotunno adds that the girl told variations of her story to nurses and police because she was afraid to upset her boyfriend, a college freshman at the time.
Rotunno referred to a text message the girl sent to her boyfriend that said she got in the “car with my friend Pierre” and she wouldn’t call it rape.
But the state reminded the judge that the girl was only 15 at the time. She testified that at the time she thought rape meant a girl had to be drugged. The state said the Rolling Meadows teen did not tell officers about a previous encounter with Washington-Steel, where he exposed his penis to her in a guest bedroom, because she was already blaming herself and thought if she talked about that incident people would think the Jan. 29 incident was all her fault.
The assistant state’s attorney said Washington-Steel was a friend of the girl's and when he exposed himself to her months before, she told him she didn’t want to have sex, told him to leave, which he did after apologizing.
“She had nothing to fear from him,” said McCarthy because “that’s how it ended a few months earlier.”
The bench trial will resume tomorrow.
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