Andrew Porter’s mother left the courtroom in tears Thursday morning when a judge ruled that her son would still face charges of alleged rape for an incident in late January.
His father stayed in the courtroom after the preliminary hearing and pleaded with the judge to lower the charges.
Porter, a 21-year-old Temple senior, faces two counts of rape, two counts of sexual assault and two counts of indecent assault. He is scheduled to appear in court for a formal arraignment at 11 a.m. on April 3.
Some details of the case became clear as the alleged victims, two female Temple students, testified in court before Judge James M. DeLeon, s.
Both victims said that they were playing drinking games in an apartment on Sydenham Street with Porter and another male the evening of Jan. 25, and while both admitted to being intoxicated, neither estimated she had more than eight shots of Southern Comfort whiskey.
The first victim, who said she does not want to press charges, stated that Porter forced himself on her after she vomited in the bathroom of the apartment.
She said she tried multiple times to push him away but did not verbally decline intercourse.
The second stated that she and Porter had been dancing in the apartment when he made a first attempt on her. She said she subsequently blacked out and woke up on a couch to find him raping her.
The minor charges against Porter, including reckless endangerment, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, indecent exposure, simple assault and involuntary deviant sexual intercourse were dropped.
Assistant District Attorney Richard DeSipio, the prosecutor on the case, said the statutory maximum for the charges Porter faces is 70 years in prison.
“That would not be likely what the charge would get him, but it will be within the legal range,” he said.
DeSipio said that Porter’s first victim’s desire not to press charges has no legal bearing, but because of the nature of the case, her request will be taken into consideration.
“Obviously she’s the victim, and her thoughts and her feelings will all come to bear in our determination of what we do with the case,” he said. “Her thoughts and her well-being will be one of the most important issues in the case to us.”
Russell DePersia, who defended Porter on Thursday, argued in court that the assault that took place in the bathroom should be reduced from a charge of rape to one of sexual assault because the victim did not verbally decline.
But DeSipio said that her many attempts to push Porter away indicated that it was not consensual, and the charge of rape remained.
DeSipio also said that the alcohol factor would have bearing on the outcome of the case, but would not necessarily swing it either way.
“It’s a truthful fact about the case,” he said. “I think that the use of the alcohol in the case is a classic example of the sexual assault statute, which is sexual intercourse without another person’s consent, and the alcohol in the case often explains how the person got in a state where they could not consent.”
“If I was very drunk and left my front door open, that doesn’t give someone the right to walk in and take my property,” he continued. “Your ability to resist is lowered, but you still say no and push away, but you can’t fight hard. That person has no right to take the property of your body. So the alcohol is a factor in that sense.”
DePersia could not be reached for comment on the case.
DeSipio said that based on the current posture of the case, it will likely proceed to a trial by jury, unless some sort of plea bargain is entered.
“If he chose to enter a plea or if we chose to offer him terms of a plea,” DeSipio said, “that would all be done in consultation.”
Morgan A. Zalot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.