Bryce Delano, 30, of Los Alamos was bound over to First Judicial District Court Tuesday by Los Alamos Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados on charges of criminal sexual penetration in the second degree and false imprisonment.
The charges are in connection with a March 10 incident at the Holiday Inn Express at 60 Entrada Dr., where Delano was formerly employed as a front desk clerk and involved allegedly in non-consensual sex with a colleague in a hotel room. Although the alleged victim attended the first part of the preliminary hearing held June 22, she was not present at Tuesday’s second part of the hearing.
In his closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist told Judge Casados what she was there for was to decide if there was probable cause that the victim did not consent. He said testimony had been heard in both days of the preliminary hearing that Delano and the victim were in the room together, that there wasn’t much dispute about that, and that they had sex while they were there.
“So, the question is did (the victim) consent. Her testimony is that she did not. Her testimony was that she essentially went into that room to essentially help (Delano) to fix a TV. She said that happens every once in a while so that’s what she went to that room to do … she testified about what happened after he came back, that he forced her onto the bed, forced himself on top of her, started to take off his shirt, couldn’t get the shirt off, got her pants down, was holding her arms. We heard testimony about the bruising, heard testimony from Det. (Joseph) Robinson about some bruising he observed on her, injuries that he had observed consistent with her story that the defendant was forcing himself on her,” Wahlquist said.
He said the Court could see that Delano is kind of a big guy and that the victim while not exactly tiny could easily be forced by someone with Delano’s size.
“She testified that he did force her to have sex, that he did have sex with her, had his hands on her forcing her down, that she wasn’t free to move, that there was penetration … and she was not consenting. That is what she testified to at the last hearing. And you’re here to decide if there was probable cause that she didn’t consent,” Wahlquist said. “And if you find that there’s probable cause – this is not beyond a reasonable doubt – this is just probable cause, that the defendant had sex with her and she didn’t consent. The evidence is that she didn’t.”
He said he was sure Jones would point out circumstantial evidence that shows that maybe the victim did consent, that possibly she let Delano into the room, that she did interact with Delano afterwards and things of that nature but that she testified to all that as well.
“You could see her when she was here in the courtroom. She wasn’t happy to be here. She had a really hard time describing the events but when she talked about other things, she freely talked about those other things,” Wahlquist said, adding that De. Robinson had had testified to that. “She went in there just to help him with the TV, he forced her to have sex and she didn’t consent and that shows that there is probable cause to bind him over on these two counts. She wasn’t free to leave, that would be the false imprisonment. She was held in that room and the defendant raped her. You should bind this over to District Court.”
In his closing statement, Jones said the scenario was “he said, she said”.
“What’s hard about ‘he said, she said’ scenarios is that you have two different people describing the same event in different manners,” he said.
Jones said Delano and the victim interacted for more than two hours, going “in and out and in and out of the room together”. He said the victim had to clean up the sheets but that there was no evidence other than her statement that she took sheets in or out of the room. He said the hotel manager who testified as to what he saw on hotel video surveillance did not testify that the victim was somehow forced into the room.
Jones told the Court that the victim did not report the incident right away, that she went back to work the next day, was picked up by a friend, didn’t call anyone and didn’t report it until she went to see her counselor four days later. He said the state had noted the victim was nervous during her testimony.
“She was probably nervous because she is lying, that this stuff didn’t happen, that she is telling a different story than what happened. Not telling anyone until Tuesday is strong evidence that this person changed her mind or was upset for some reason, but she changed her mind and told a story that’s not true,” Jones said. “If this was such a traumatic incident, why would she stay there and talk to Mr. Delano after this had happened?”
Jones said when Det. Robinson called in Delano, Delano said he and the victim had sex, but he did not say he had hurt her in any way.
“He said it was a consensual thing, that they had interactions. It was clear they had interactions – they were two people that knew each other, that had worked together … there is no proof that a TV was broken other than her statement,” Jones said.
He went on to say that the state said there was bruising but that the state had provided the “perfect explanation – the size of Mr. Delano”.
“When people have sex sometimes the people get hurt or injured but without it being purposeful, just the matter of sex, people get active and sometimes bodies hit on each other and sometimes people get injured from just the mere act of it,” Jones said. “He denied doing this. It was an agreed-upon act. Sometimes people change their minds. I don’t know why but they do and then they change their story … she did not tell a true story. There are too many flaws … if she was truly in that kind of danger why would she let someone back into the room?”
Judge Casados, returning after a 10-minute recess to review her notes, said based on the evidence and testimony presented she was binding Delano over to District Court on both charges. She said conditions of release would remain the same so Delano will remain free on personal recognizance on conditions of release, which include house arrest except for work, court, doctor appointments and other places approved by his probation officer.