Rape Trial Of Rhoads Begins Disabled Woman Claims He Assaulted

During the rape trial of an ex-college football star, a developmentally-disabled woman described how a former group-home worker invited her to a movie, but, instead, drove her to his home and sexually assaulted her.
The woman, 25, testified about how she trusted Elton Howland Rhoades Jr., a program director at the group-home for young women, and how he “started becoming very nice and very sweet” when she lived there and he worked there.
Mr. Rhoads had been fired from the group-home before the alleged incident.
Now 47, Mr. Rhoads, a former football star at the University of Central Oklahoma, is charged with one count of first-degree rape.
Prosecutors allege Mr. Rhoades raped the woman, who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child and whose disabilities left her “vulnerable.”
In his opening statement, defense attorney Steve Nash said the woman “instigated” the sex and it was Mr. Rhoades who “stopped it.”
The woman said Mr. Rhoades contacted her by text message after he was fired in April 2018, and invited her to the movies.
She told Assistant District Attorney Kelly Collins he picked her up in front of the facility about a month later and drove her to his home in Edmond.
“He told me that the movie was upstairs,” she testified.
Once inside, the woman described watching a movie on a flat-screen TV and performing a dance routine from a pageant for girls and women with disabilities.
She said Mr. Rhoades asked her to sit on his lap, told her she was sexy and then began kissing and touching her.
“Did you want him to kiss and touch you?” Assistant District Attorney Collins asked.
“No,” the witness answered.
“I was afraid of what was going to happen if I didn’t do it.”
The woman said he forced her to have sex and said she tried to push him off but couldn’t because he was too strong.
In her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Merydith Easter said the woman suffered “significant injuries” from the assault and spent several hours at a hospital.
She said DNA collected from the defendant matched DNA found on the woman’s body.
Parents of the woman testified, saying they adopted her from an orphanage in Romania when she was age 4.

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