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YOUNGSTOWN Rape case will hinge on question of consent



Published: Fri, April 4, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both the accused and the victim are expected to testify.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Neither Nathan Hudson Jr. nor his former girlfriend disputes that they engaged in sexual conduct at a house on East High Street nearly three years ago.

Hudson says the woman was willing, and that at her insistence they did it twice.

But the woman says she was kidnapped, driven to the house, assaulted and forced to engage in sex, all at gunpoint.

That's why Hudson, 62, of East Wood Street, is on trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on charges of kidnapping and rape. Opening statements were late Tuesday afternoon in the courtroom of Judge Maureen A. Cronin, where testimony was to begin today.

Lawyers said both the victim and Hudson are expected to testify during the trial, which should be finished by the end of the week.

"Was it consensual or not? That's what this case is going to boil down to," Judge Cronin told jurors, noting that an element of rape is that the sexual conduct was by force or threat of force.

Defense claims

Defense attorney Ted Macejko Jr. said Hudson and the victim had lived together for some four years, beginning in the mid-1990s. In late 1999, the woman met another man, started a relationship with him and went on a vacation with him to South Carolina, he said.

On June 23, 2000, Hudson stopped to see the woman outside her Illinois Street home, wanting to talk to her about their relationship, Macejko said. He said Hudson was unarmed and that the woman went willingly to the East High house, where Hudson's brother lived.

"There were moments of affection" that led to "sexual interludes" at the house, Macejko said. "But they were never forced."

Prosecution arguments

Assistant prosecutor Dawn Krueger said Hudson had badgered the woman for weeks because she'd ended their relationship and moved out of their house.

"She met someone new, and Nathan Hudson couldn't stand it," Krueger said.

She said Hudson forced the victim to go with him to the East High house, slapped her several times, ordered her to take off her clothes and twice forced himself on her sexually.

Macejko said there was no medical or scientific evidence of rape, but noted a hospital nurse said the victim's face was reddened and swollen. He said Hudson denies hitting the woman, but will explain from the witness stand how her face was hurt.

If Hudson is convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for each charge.

bjackson@vindy.com




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