By KAREN VELIE
During a controversial sexual assault trial Tuesday, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy discussed the alleged victim’s inconsistent statements.
Defendant Herbert Connor is charged with sexual battery, inflicting corporal injury and assault with intent to commit rape over an incident in which he allegedly attempted to have sex with a 67-year-old Cambria woman, which caused her to fall into a door jamb while she tried to escape. Since 2012, Connor and the woman have been friends and on and off sexual partners.
With the jury out of the courtroom, Judge Duffy questioned whether a paragraph from a diary the woman kept concerning the alleged assault should be provided to the jury because it was inconsistent with the victim’s testimony at trial.
“It’s arguably inconsistent with prior statements she fell into the wall,” Judge Duffy said.
The previous afternoon, Connor gave his version of the relationship and the incident.
In early 2012, Connor and the woman met at a dog park in Cambria. During that time, Connor informed the woman he was married. Shortly afterwards, Connor and the woman began a consensual sexual relationship.
On April 25, 2017, Connor and the woman walked their dogs, went swimming at Cuesta College and then shopping at the grocery store. While driving the woman home, Connor said he held her hand.
After Connor carried the woman’s groceries into her kitchen, they embraced and kissed, Connor testified. With his arm around her waste, Connor and the woman walked down the hallway to her bedroom and laid on the bed, he said.
After kissing her, Connor said he raised her blouse, kissed her breast, and moved his hand towards her groin area.
“She said ‘no,’ grabbed my hand and pulled away,” Connor testified. “I realized she was not having a good time.”
Contradicting the woman’s testimony that she pulled away from Connor and fell into the wall while in the hallway, Connor said the woman got up, walked out of the room and collapsed.
On Tuesday, Judge Duffy asked the court reporter to read back three statements the woman gave about falling into the wall. In each statement, the woman said she fell into the wall.
“I don’t think he slammed me, I fell into the wall,” the woman testified during trial.
Contradicting her trial testimony, in her diary the woman wrote that Connor “shoved” her into the wall causing a back injury.
District Attorney Dan Dow said he wanted the whole paragraph given to the jury because it describes pain associated with her back injury. Connor’s attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu also wanted the paragraph provided to the jury.
Judge Duffy said the victim would have to return to the stand on Wednesday to verify the diary entry.
Funke-Bilu said he would “not mind putting on a show,” and danced a short jig for the gallery before informing the judge he would not dance in front the jury.
Following the woman’s testimony about the diary entry, the attorneys are scheduled to give closing statements.