Jury finds Faribault man not guilty of rape - Faribault MN: News

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Jury finds Faribault man not guilty of rape

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Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 4:05 pm | Updated: 4:25 pm, Tue Jan 29, 2013.

A Faribault man who was accused of rape in April was set free on Tuesday afternoon after a jury found him not guilty on all criminal sex conduct counts.

Taylor Joseph Watson was charged with felony criminal sex conduct in the first-, third- and fourth-degrees about a week after a female friend stayed at his apartment following a night of drinking in late April 2012.

Three of the charges against Watson involved allegations that the girl was physically helpless during the sex acts. The state argued that the girl was so intoxicated that she couldn’t have given consent or non-consent that night.

The girl, an 18 year old who had dated Watson briefly about four years earlier, told police that she didn’t remember anything from the night in question.

According to a police complaint, however, Watson had told a mutual friend that he had touched the girl’s genitals, performed oral sex on her and had sex with her, according to court documents. When questioned by police, Watson admitted to touching the girl and performing oral sex on her, claiming she was coherent enough to consent to the sexual contact.

Watson denied having sex with the girl, and said that what he had told the mutual friend was not true.

The trial began on Jan. 14 with two days of jury selection. Then, after three days of witness testimony and evidence, Assistant Rice County Attorney Benjamin Bejar and defense attorney Terry Watkins gave their closing arguments on Tuesday morning.

The jury, made up of eight men and four women, deliberated for just two hours and came back with findings of not guilty on all four criminal sex conduct charges. Just moments before the jury came back into the courtroom, Judge Christine Long denied a motion for acquittal that Watkins had submitted on Friday.

In an interview after the verdict was announced, Watkins said the case was a very important one, especially for younger people. He had argued that the girl had intentionally gotten drunk and then asked to stay at Watson’s apartment.

“What we had here was voluntary, intentional intoxication ending in a rape trial,” he said. “Rape is a horrible thing to go through, I understand that, but we have to be careful when rising to that level, when setting that standard.”

Bejar declined to comment for this story.

Reach reporter Rebecca Rodenborg at 333-3128, or follow her on Twitter.com @FDNRebecca

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  • Altruist posted at 12:34 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Altruist Posts: 208

    I read the article 3 times and can't see the part where you say that he admitted to rape?

    I don't know these people, wasn't present when the drinking took place, wasn't there during the conversation he had with the friend or the police interview and wasn't at the trial. All I know about it is that a jury of 12 found him not guilty.

  • IraqiFreedom posted at 11:50 am on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    IraqiFreedom Posts: 41

    Wow. So even though he ADMITTED to rape when he was first arrested, AND told a friend exactly what he did, he STILL manages to get off free.... Way to go Rice County, you just keep letting these people walk free! So as long as you get someone blackout drunk, and have sex with them, (with or without consent) you'll walk free. Even After 1st AND 3rd degree charges.......


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