Article published Jun 18, 2005
By ANNMARIE TIMMINS
Agrand jury has indicted the three magazine salesmen charged with raping a 19-year-old Concord woman in March on several sexual assault charges.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for one of the suspects has asked a judge to seize as evidence the laptop the alleged victim was reportedly using to instant message for help while the men were in her apartment.
The woman has told the police that during the encounter she became concerned and used the computer to ask a male acquaintance from the Web site http://www.hotornot.com/ to come to her home, according to court paperwork filed by a defense lawyer. The computer was at a shop for service when the lawyer asked that it be collected.
In the indictments released yesterday, the Merrimack County grand jury indicted each of the men on conspiracy for allegedly working together to assault the woman, whom they were with for nearly two hours. The jury also indicted the men on several other charges.
Cassidy Coburn, 19, of Monroe, Utah, was indicted on four counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, all felonies, and two misdemeanor charges of theft by unauthorized taking for allegedly stealing the woman's digital camera and wallet.
Joseph Haniffy, 24, of Chicopee, Mass., was indicted on four counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. Christopher Armstrong, 23, of Jonesboro, Ark., was indicted on two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault.
The men allegedly assaulted the woman on March 28 after Coburn and Armstrong knocked on her apartment door selling magazines. They came into the apartment, drank beer with the woman, visited with her and even mugged for a camera, according to court records previously released.
The police initially believed the men had drugged the woman with something slipped into her beer because she reported feeling lightheaded, but tests have not revealed anything in her system other than the cough medicine she has acknowledged taking earlier in the day.
The atmosphere inside the apartment changed after Haniffy, the team's driver, arrived some time later, according to a police affidavit. Coburn had gone outside to meet Haniffy at a pre-arranged time and told him to come inside because a woman had agreed to have sex with them, according to the police.
Haniffy grabbed the woman by the arm and dragged her to the bathroom where he made her perform oral sex, according to the affidavit. Later, the three men took her to her bedroom, where they raped her, according to the affidavit. The indictments released yesterday allege the men assaulted her with force and while ignoring her verbal protests.
In the police affidavit, the men said they had sex with the woman and that it went "too far." Armstrong told detectives, "I could tell you that, you know, I wasn't sure if she really wanted to do this or not. Then definitely, by . . . a minute or two into it, I could tell you that she didn't want it to happen."
During the two hours the men were in the woman's apartment, she contacted people by phone and e-mail, according to court records and the police. She called one friend and told her to come over and meet the "cute guys" she had in her apartment, according to the police.
In his request to seize the laptop, Coburn's lawyer, Ted Barnes, said the alleged victim also contacted friends and others with her roommates laptop by instant message. "It is vital to the defense that the subject laptop be seized and impounded immediately, in order to prevent any as yet unaccomplished efforts to wipe the hard-drive or otherwise damage . . . computer evidence."
In his filing, Barnes said the police and prosecutors have said those instant messages are not retrievable. "If this were a computer pornography case, it is safe to say that the police would have long since had their forensic computer expert combing through the hard drive to retrieve the instant messages," Barnes wrote.
Prosecutor David Rotman, who declined comment yesterday, agreed in a court filing to get the computer and preserve it as evidence. Barnes said yesterday a judge still needs to determine who will examine the computer and how a search of its contents will be handled.
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By ANNMARIE TIMMINS