Jurors hear opening statements, testimony in Patrick Amara rape trial 

  • Patrick K. Amara Jr. is shown at his rape trial in Hampshire Superior Court on Wednesday, BERA DUNAU/STAFF PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/24/2019 3:24:49 PM

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the day of the week the accuser testified at the trial.

NORTHAMPTON — Lawyers on Wednesday gave opening statements in the trial of Patrick K. Amara Jr., a former University of Massachusetts student accused of raping another student, and the accuser took the stand on day one of a trial that is expected to go to the jury early next week.

Amara, 23, who currently lives in Georgia, is on trial for three counts of rape. The incidents allegedly took place at a birthday party in Hadley on April 30, 2016.

Amara was a student at UMass and a member of its football team at the time of the alleged incidents.

The accuser is a young woman who was 19 years old and attending UMass at the time of the alleged crimes. As a matter of policy, the Gazette does not generally identify victims of alleged rape or sexual assault.

In her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Erin Aiello said that the party started as a cookout and that Amara and his accuser had mutual friends. Aiello said that Amara was intoxicated and that the young woman took him to the bathroom after he said he was going to vomit.

While in the bathroom, Aiello said Amara made advances on the young woman, which were refused, and that he then forced himself on her. The attorney also said that Amara stopped his alleged assault to respond to someone at the door asking if everything was OK, before allegedly forcing himself on her again.

Aiello said that after the young woman got out of the bathroom, she immediately told a friend what had happened. She then rejoined the party and tried to pretend the incident did not happen, Aiello said. She also said that another friend prevented Amara from getting into a bathroom with the alleged victim a second time, according to Aiello.

“I ask you to use your common sense and life experience to evaluate the testimony that you’re going to hear,” Aiello told the jury.

John Drake, Amara’s defense attorney, said that what happened in the bathroom at the party was consensual.

“This is a story of consensual sex and regret,” Drake told jurors.

Drake said that there is conflicting evidence as to whether Amara went to the bathroom because he was sick or because he had to urinate.

Drake said that, because of Amara’s intoxication, it is not clear what actually occurred in the bathroom. He also said that, while Amara and his accuser were in the bathroom, a friend of Amara’s knocked on the door and the woman stuck her head out and indicated everything was OK.

The alleged victim was the first person to testify Wednesday and sobbed when describing the incidents in the bathroom under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl.

“I was so afraid,” she said. “I felt paralyzed.”

The woman testified that while in the bathroom, Amara stopped his alleged assault to answer the door, before forcing himself on her again. She said that after she left the bathroom she found a friend and told her that she had been raped.

The trial is being presided over by Judge Mark Mason and resumes Thursday.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gaz ettenet.com.

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