Hancock County rape trial begins

Opening statements Monday in the jury trial of an Arlington teen charged with sexually assaulting a former classmate centered on whether the sex was consensual.
Kyle McDowell, 19, is charged with three counts of rape, all first-degree felonies; gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony; and kidnapping with a sexual motivation specification, a first-degree felony.
The 2016 Arlington High School graduate was reportedly friends with the alleged victim. He was 17 years old and the girl was 16 when the incidents allegedly occurred in October 2014 at an Arlington home.
McDowell is alleged to have forced the girl into a bedroom, performed oral sex on her and penetrated her with his fingers and penis.
Key to the prosecution’s case are McDowell’s repeated and seemingly frantic text messages to the girl minutes after the alleged incident.
However, defense attorneys said witnesses and other evidence in the coming days will show that the text messages may be interpreted multiple ways.
McDowell and the girl had consensual sex, and the girl made up a sexual assault story to avoid punishment from her mother, who is abusive, defense attorney Lorin Zaner said.

Courier reporter Lou Wilin will have more on Tuesday.


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