Serial Rapes: Testimony: Victims recount assaults
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
8/27/08 at 5:50 AM
Parents and children testified Tuesday -- in three languages and in sometimes disturbing detail -- about sex crimes that prosecutors attribute to a Tulsa man who is charged with 36 offenses.
The preliminary hearing for Gary Lee Graham Jr. resumes Wednesday before District Judge Gordon McAllister.
The judge heard testimony Tuesday from 15 witnesses, including four people who police say are victims of sex offenses.
There was also testimony from parents, nurses who performed sexual assault examinations, and police officers.
One mother testified with the help of an English-Spanish interpreter, and another testified with the aid of an English-Korean interpreter.
Tulsa County prosecutors charged Graham, 36, with 35 felonies -- one count of first-degree rape, two counts of forcible sodomy, two counts of attempted rape, eight counts of lewd molestation, four counts of first-degree rape by instrumentation, four counts of second-degree rape by instrumentation, one count of kidnapping, one count of attempted kidnapping, one count of sexual battery, nine counts of first-degree burglary and two counts of possession of child pornography.
He also is named in a misdemeanor "Peeping Tom" count.
Graham "maintains his innocence," his defense attorney, Kevin Adams, said.
A girl who is now 13 said in court Tuesday that she was awakened in bed "by a knife at my throat" in her family's apartment in May 2005.
The intruder threatened to kill her if she screamed or yelled, and she started crying, she said. He ordered her to undress and to get on the floor, where he sexually assaulted her, she indicated.
A girl who is now 12 testified that in September 2003 she was asleep in a bed at her family's apartment when "I felt breathing on me."
Upon awakening, she saw a man who said, "If you scream, I'll kill you," she said.
She testified that the intruder choked her with both hands, ripped her underwear and pulled her toward a window. He eventually fled through the window, she said.
In court, the girl identified Graham as the man, although Adams objected, saying the identification was "unduly suggestive."
He noted that the defendant was "the only person in a red jumpsuit and handcuffs in the courtroom."
A mother testified that in May 2004, she awakened to find her 4-year-old daughter wearing different panties from those she was wearing when she went to sleep.
The girl told her that "the man took away my panties," the mother said. The child was "very disturbed" and "looked very scared," her mother testified.
The child indicated that the intruder touched her with his tongue. When asked why she had not called for help, the girl said that "the man covered her mouth too hard," the mother testified.
At a prosecutor's request, a girl who was 6 when she was assaulted in July 2005 testified in a courtroom that McAllister closed to the public.
Assistant District Attorney Brandon Whitworth said he made that request because of the girl's "tender years."
That girl's mother testified about being awakened by the child's screaming sibling, who said "a fat man" had carried the girl out a window.
The mother said that when she found her daughter just outside the front door of their home, she was not wearing any clothes, was bleeding from her mouth and was very scared.
In that case, Graham is charged with forcible oral sodomy, lewd molestation, kidnapping and burglary, records show.
The mother of a girl who is now 12 testified that in October 2004, she was awakened by her "extremely upset" daughter, who said "somebody is outside."
The girl subsequently revealed that a man had been inside her bedroom and threatened to kill her, the mother said.
Graham is charged with burglary, lewd molestation and two counts of rape by instrumentation in that case.
A woman who is now 27 testified that in August 2001, she was awakened by a man who was sitting on her bed and touching her below the waist.
"I started to struggle," the woman testified. "I dug my nails in the top of his head, and I tried to put my thumbs in his eyes."
The man left her apartment, and she then noticed that a window that had been closed was open.
Whitworth said at the start of the hearing that prosecutors planned to call 30 to 35 witnesses.
Adams, who contends that some testimony by adults about statements attributed to children should not be admissible, said he planned to file written objections to some of the evidence.
Graham was arrested after his fingerprints reportedly matched those found at a 2003 crime scene, police records show.
Police said they used DNA evidence to link Graham to eight other attacks on young women and girls since 2001.
Bill Braun 581-8455