A Uniontown teen accused of rape was found not guilty of most charges by a Fayette County jury Thursday.
Michael Monroe, 19, was found guilty of corruption of a minor, but a jury of eight men and four women acquitted him of the more serious charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and simple assault after about two hours of deliberation.
Monroe took the stand on his own behalf, explaining that the sex with the alleged victim, who was 17 years old at the time, was consensual. Monroe said he knew the alleged victim and her boyfriend for several years, and that he was close friends with her boyfriend.
According to Monroe, he and the alleged victim slept together five or six times within a two-month period in 2012, while the girl and her boyfriend were already in a relationship. Monroe testified they agreed to keep the sexual encounters secret from her boyfriend.
On the night of March 8, 2013, Monroe testified the alleged victim and her boyfriend arrived at the boyfriend’s home on Evans Street, and that they appeared to be fighting. There was yelling, Monroe testified, and when the two went upstairs, there was a “commotion.”
Monroe told the court that the boyfriend left about 20 minutes later to go to a party down the street, asking Monroe to keep an eye on the house as he left.
“When (the boyfriend) left, after hearing the commotion, I wanted to see what happened, ask her if she was OK,” Monroe testified, “which is normal, I’ve done that for her multiple times.”
After initially checking in on her, Monroe said he went downstairs, and came back up some time later to use the restroom. He testified the alleged victim invited him into the bedroom when she observed him coming out of the restroom.
“I asked her again what was going on, and she nudged it off,” Monroe told jurors. “I observed a scratch on her, she said everything was fine.”
Monroe testified he sat on the corner of the bed watching TV because the alleged victim said she didn’t want to be alone. At some point, he testified he asked her to move closer and she did.
“We both laid on the bed and basically cuddled,” Monroe testified. “We started to get touchy. I started to kiss on her, she kissed me back.”
“I asked her if she wanted to have sex, she said yes,” said Monroe.
Afterwards, Monroe testified he felt like he should tell the alleged victim’s boyfriend what had taken place, because it happened in the boyfriend’s house. “I knew it needed to be said,” Monroe told the jury.
When the boyfriend returned to his house, he threw a door open to a living room area, hitting the chair Monroe was sitting in, he testified, and then the boyfriend attacked another man who was in the home.
Monroe said he moved to break up the skirmish, and at that point, the boyfriend told Monroe to read the text messages the alleged victim had sent accusing Monroe of raping her.
Two men brandishing pistols next came in and most of the occupants of the house were asked to leave, Monroe testified.
In her closing argument, Assistant Public Defender Charity Grimm-Krupa asked the jury to consider what she called “multiple reasons for doubt,” including inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s and her boyfriend’s testimonies and the procedures police used to analyze evidence collected at Uniontown Hospital.
“They submitted just enough evidence to link (the crime) to the defendant, and then they just quit,” Grimm-Krupa said, adding that the process was unfair to Monroe.
Grimm-Krupa also reminded jurors that the alleged victim herself testified that she did not tell Monroe “no” or “stop.”
Assistant District Attorney Meghann Mikluscak, in her closing argument, said, “The reason we are here is a violation of trust.”
She argued Monroe violated the alleged victim’s trust as well as her boyfriend’s, who testified he asked Monroe to make sure she was alright.
Monroe will be sentenced before Senior Judge Gerald R. Solomon on March 12 at 9:15. Solomon immediately revoked Monroe’s bond and he was taken to the Fayette County Prison to await sentencing.