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Accuser testifies in Dykes trial

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The rape trial of former Notre Dame football player Donald Dykes began this week and his accuser, a former Notre Dame student, testified as the first witness for the prosecution on Tuesday.

Dykes is the second of the four former Notre Dame football players accused of sexually assaulting the woman to be tried. He is charged with rape, conspiracy to commit rape and sexual battery.

Dykes, along with Abram Elam, Lorenzo Crawford and Justin Smith, testified at Elam’s trial earlier this month and all maintained their innocence, claiming the acts were consensual. Elam was acquitted on the charges of conspiracy to commit rape and criminal deviate conduct, but found guilty on the charge of sexual battery.

The woman claims the four football players sexually assaulted her multiple times the morning of March 28, 2002 at Smith’s off-campus home. She testified today that she was too scared and in too much pain to leave Smith’s home after the alleged gang rape and waited to report it because she did not think accusing Notre Dame football players would win her much sympathy.

Jury selection for the trial started Monday and was a lengthy process as special prosecutor Maureen Devlin and defense attorneys William Stanley and Michael Tuszynski questioned the approximately 90 potential jurors. The juror pool was larger than usual for this case due to fears that the pool may be tainted by the extensive media coverage throughout Elam’s trial.

The trials for Crawford and Smith begin later this year.

WNDU and The South Bend Tribune contributed to this report.