Macomb Daily Staff Writer
A 16-year-old girl calmly testified Thursday that two men raped her in Warren last month following a party.
Her composure turned to tears when the lawyer for one of the men pressed her about details and asked why she didn't go home after the incident.
The 10th grader admitted she was drunk when she began kissing one of the suspects after the party Aug. 15 on Chalmers Avenue. She said she moved willingly with him from a couch to a bed, after other party-goers were locked outside. She said James Gary Haislip then went too far. "He took my shirt off, got on top of me, and I said, 'No,' to get off me," she said during a preliminary hearing in 37th District Court for Haislip, 24, and 17-year-old Eric Perez, both of Warren.
"I told him I didn't want to do it because I had a boyfriend. He raped me." She said when she ran half-naked to a bathroom minutes later, Perez entered. "I was crying and asking him to help me," the teen testified.
Perez, she said, entered with a shirt in his hand. But the suspect began kissing her and attempted anal sex, said the girl, who was 15 at the time of the alleged incident. She testified she fell to the bathroom floor after trying to push him away, and that he forced intercourse. The teenager said she was a virgin before the assaults.
Judge Walter Jakubowski ordered Perez and Haislip, both of Warren, to stand trial in Macomb County Circuit Court on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Perez faces two counts, and Haislip one. If convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, both men face up to life in prison.
Defense lawyers tried to show the girl did not kick, scream or make other efforts to fight off the accused attackers, and pointed to inconsistencies between her court testimony and her statements to police and doctors who treated her Aug. 15.
She testified she did not remember how her panties came off in the bathroom, then said she had no panties on when she ran from the bed after the first alleged attack. The girl said she had "three or four" mixed drinks of vodka and orange juice, had two "hits" of marijuana and vomited during the party. She admitted she lied to Haislip about her age at the party, telling him she was already 16.
Both defense lawyers repeatedly asked about what clothes she had on and how the articles were taken off. At one point, Judge Jakubowski warned attorney James Galen Jr., Perez's lawyer, that detailed questions about her actions were more suited to a trial and beyond the scope of a preliminary examination. In a preliminary exam, a judge must determine if there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed, and if the defendant probably committed the offense.
The girl said that riding in a taxi-cab from the Chalmers house, she told a girlfriend who had waited for her outside that she had been raped.
Under cross-examination by Galen, the tearful teenager said she did not go home because she was supposed to stay at a friend's home overnight. "I was scared. I didn't even want to tell anybody," she said.
After the hearing, Galen told a reporter he believes the contact between the girl and Haislip was consensual, and that Perez is innocent.
"I have no doubt in my mind when it comes to trial we will prevail and my client will be cleared," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if she comes up on perjury charges."
"I believe there are a number inconsistent statements," said Haislip's attorney, Mike Osaer. "She did indicate to the hospital she was unsure if there was penetration by my client. I do believe when all the facts come out her story will not be credible."
Macomb Assistant Prosecutor Trish Fresard believes the girl was, truthful on the witness stand. Fresard said friends of one of the suspects tried to threaten the girl into not testifying, and also threatened her family. That prompted a stern warning from the judge to the defendants. "You two are in enough trouble," said Jakubowski, who ordered both men to not contact the girl and her family.
Haislip and Perez remain in the Macomb County Jail in lieu of $2 million bond each.