Estranged husband charged with raping wife

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comApril 24, 2014 

A 29-year-old Phenix City man is accused of raping his estranged wife after he discovered she was seeing another man, according to court testimony.

The man, whose name we aren't releasing in order to protect the victim's identity, pleaded not guilty to battery with physical harm and rape charges during a Thursday morning Recorder's Court hearing. He did not testify during the proceedings.

Detective Amanda Hogan testified she first met with the victim April 18 at Midtown Medical Center, where she learned the victim had been estranged from her husband for about 18 months. The two are in the midst of what Hogan described as a "very nasty" divorce, during which the man has resided in Phenix City while the victim remains in Columbus.

That Friday, the man called the victim and asked if he could take their children to school. After he got the children ready, he went on the victim's computer and became enraged by pictures of a man she recently began dating, Hogan told the court.

The estranged husband allegedly stormed to the bedroom and banged on the victim's door, demanding to speak with her. He forced her back inside the room when she opened the door, according to court testimony.

Once inside, the victim says he flung her into a dresser on the far side of the room before grabbing her arm and forcing her into the adjoined bathroom. There, he held her against the toilet by her arm and throat and raped her, according to testimony.

The victim told police she struggled throughout the assault, though quietly, as she did not wish to upset her children. When Hogan interviewed her, she still had visible bruising on her throat and arms, in addition to marks made by a bathroom shelf placed behind the toilet.

During the assault, the victim's children continually attempted to reach their mother, Hogan told the court. The man is accused of repeatedly kicking the bathroom door closed in the 5-year-old girl's face while her mother pleaded with her to leave the room.

"She told her children 'It's OK, it's OK. Mommy and daddy are just wrestling,'" Hogan said. "The 5-year-old later confirmed her mother told her they were wrestling."

With an unsteady voice, the victim testified that she repeatedly said "no" during the incident. She said she originally left her husband because of their intense arguments.

"I couldn't fight back as hard as I wanted to," she said quietly. "I wanted to fight harder. I would have fought back harder, but my kids would have heard. I'm not trying to subject my children to any more violence."

When the man learned police were searching for him, he voluntarily submitted to an interview, Hogan said. He told investigators the victim had consensual sex with him on the bed before taking a shower. He said he later discovered the photos on her computer and confronted her.

During that confrontation, he accuses the victim of striking his face. Hogan said the red mark was still faintly visible during Thursday's hearing.

He also submitted to a DNA swab, Hogan said.

Some discrepancies belie the man's testimony, Hogan said. He claimed the consensual sex took place on the bed, even though detectives found clothes piled on the bed with no sign someone recently occupied that space.

Contents on the shelf behind the toilet were in disarray. The marks on her back also seemed to match with being pushed against that shelf, Hogan told the court.

According to court testimony, the relationship was an abusive one. The 5-year-old girl told detectives her mother used to punch her father in the stomach and slap his face. The child also said her father "doesn't do that anymore" when asked if he engaged in domestic violence towards her mom.

The bonds for the man's charges will be set by the Muscogee County Superior Court.

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