Fmr. student to stand trial for USF rapes


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/*Ryan Caskey*/, 21, a former ROTC member at the university, is charged with four counts of rape of an intoxicated person for separate incidents that occurred after parties at the school between April 2008 and January.

Prosecutors had also initially charged him with assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, but those charges were later withdrawn.

A preliminary hearing on the rape charges concluded Wednesday when Judge Kay Tsenin held Caskey to answer on the charges "by a hair's breadth," she said. A trial date has not yet been set.

Prosecutors claim Caskey plied the women, some of them also ROTC members, with alcohol at parties and later took advantage of them after they passed out.

He was arrested in February after one of the women reported the alleged attack to campus police.

Caskey's attorney maintains there was evidence the sex was consensual.

At the hearing, which began April 29, all four women testified at that after drinking heavily during parties with Caskey and others, they blacked out and woke up to discover Caskey having sex with them. Most of the incidents took place in Caskey's dorm room, but all four maintained the sex was not consensual.

Assistant District Attorney Marianne Barrett said Caskey maintained a more senior ROTC position and the women "looked at the defendant as a role model."

"They trusted him," Barrett said, acknowledging that they had delayed reporting the incidents because they "doubted themselves." She said they were unaware of the law on rape by intoxication, and initially felt ashamed and blamed themselves.

"It was only when they realized that this really was wrong, and 'It didn't just happen to me,'" she said.

"This is classic rape by intoxication," Barrett said.

The charge in this case is defined as sexual intercourse where a person is prevented from resisting by an intoxicant, "and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused."

Caskey's attorney Martin Sabelli asserted that the prosecution had not proven Caskey knew at the time the women were incapable of consent. He also said evidence showed one of the women was not passed out when the sex occurred.

Sabelli further argued that three of the four women "acted and talked afterward as if they had consensual sex, which they now regretted."

"The evidence I have before me basically shows that all four women passed out," Tsenin concluded Wednesday.

"If you passed out, you can't consent," she said.

Tsenin ruled that there was probable cause -- a lower standard than needed for conviction by jury -- to hold Caskey for trial on the charges, noting to Barrett, "I think you made it by a hair's breadth."

"Definitely I think the defendant took advantage of someone," Tsenin said. "The question is, did he take advantage of someone who could not consent?"

Caskey remains out of custody and is due back in court May 21 for superior court arraignment on the charges, and a possible setting of a trial date.

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