XENIA — Attorneys opened the rape trial of a Yellow Springs man Sept. 23 in Greene County Common Pleas Court, describing a “he-said, she-said” case.
Jacob Pflanzer, 29, is accused of sexually assaulting a then-20-year-old woman early morning April 8, 2018 in a Yellow Springs home. A grand jury indicted him on four counts of rape, a first-degree felony, and one count of gross sexual imposition.
“I will submit one thing to you that I think everyone can agree with — that we have an allegation of sexual assault and both parties agreed that some sexual conduct occurred,” Assistant Prosecutor David Morrison said in opening arguments. “One party says that conduct was voluntary or consensual and the other party says it was non-consensual. Somebody is not telling the truth.”
According to Morrison, Pflanzer invited the woman over to the Yellow Springs home. Morrison said she drove from Kettering to the house, and when she arrived, realized none of her friends were there. As the two started talking, Pflanzer noticed that there was a bug on her pants, Morrison said. Pflanzer started checking to see if there were more bugs on her, Morrison said, before ultimately forcing her into the bedroom, holding her wrists while he assaulted her.
“She’s telling him no. She’s saying ‘ouch.’ She’s conveying pain,” Morrison told the jury. “She’s put in a position where she doesn’t physically kick him, punch him, and the law doesn’t require her to do that. ‘No’ is enough.”
Morrison said the victim went to Kettering Medical Center later that morning, where Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Maria Thomas examined her.
Thomas testified that the victim arrived disheveled with torn clothing, and was tearful but cooperative during the nearly three-hour exam.
According to the nurse’s documents, the victim reported that she was strangled, scratched and bit as the assailant restrained her. Thomas took photos of reddened areas and markings on the woman’s body, which Assistant Prosecutor Cheri Stout showed the jury.
Defense Attorney Adam Arnold argued that redness can be caused by consensual sex.
“This is a serious allegation against Mr. Pflanzer,” Arnold said in opening. “When you look at [victim’s] testimony and when you look at the SANE nurse’s testimony and you hear all of these other witnesses that come in, you’re going to see the story doesn’t make sense. It changes. There are major parts of the story that are missing.”
Arnold cross-examined Thomas, asking if she had taken any photos of bite marks on the victim’s body, had documented injuries to the victim’s throat from choking, or noted hair loss from hair-pulling. The nurse responded that she had not.
According to the defense, there were not only inconsistencies in the accounts but also flaws in the investigation.
“Over the next few days, it’s not going to add up,” Arnold said to the jury. “What you’re going to see is some erratic behavior from a young woman. You’re going to see how the rest of her life and situation was also erratic. You’re going to see and hear Detective Watson in this case. You’re going to see all of the steps that she missed in her investigation.”
The trial continues at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24 in Judge Stephen Wolaver’s courtroom. The state is expected to present evidence that includes a controlled call, DNA samples, and more testimonies throughout the week.