An alleged rape victim testified Monday that when she met up with Richard J. Aguirre for dinner in November 2014, she did not expect anything negative to happen that night.
The woman, who was in her 20s, said she has known the former Pasco police officer her entire life and thought they had a good relationship.
So when she became intoxicated after drinking at three different Benton County establishments, she said she thought it was safe to spend the night at Aguirre’s Pasco home instead of driving back to Yakima County.
The woman is not named under a Herald policy not to identify people who report being sexually assaulted.
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The first witness to take the stand in Aguirre’s trial, she tearfully gave graphic details about what she claims happened.
Aguirre, 52, is charged in Franklin County Superior Court with third-degree rape and fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation. His trial started July 6 with jury selection.
The woman explained that she passed out on one side of Aguirre’s bed and later woke to him touching and kissing her.
She said when she recognized the “ripping noise” of a condom package in the dark room, she “told him to stop.” She then grabbed her cellphone saying she needed to call her kids, and ran outside the house to call her ex-lover — who was watching the children — for help.
Aguirre ended up driving her to the man’s home, and the man told Aguirre to leave since the woman “was hysterical” and couldn’t stop crying. She then called her mother to pick her up since Aguirre had her truck.
The defense tried to show jurors that the extramarital relationship actually was ongoing, and the woman alleged she was raped by Aguirre so her husband wouldn’t know she still was involved with her lover.
Defense attorney John Henry Browne questioned the woman about her appearance that evening, asking if she was dressed in “very tight jeans” and heels when she dropped off the children at her former lover’s home in the Tri-Cities.
She had made arrangements with Aguirre two days prior to go to dinner and catch up since she was going to be in town. But Browne wanted to know if she really visited the Tri-Cities intending to have sex with the lover, and whether her husband and family would approve of her spending the night with the man.
“I didn’t want to go there,” she said, when asked why she went with Aguirre instead of returning to her ex-lover’s home to be with her kids. The man is the father of her older son.
Defense attorney Michael Lee in his opening statements had detailed for jurors how much the woman had to drink: two coconut sours, two Long Island Iced Teas and three shots.
“She’s had a lot of alcohol for a very small lady,” he said.
In cross-examining the woman on the witness stand, Browne’s first questions involved how much she weighed, if she had a lot to drink that night, and if her dinner consisted of an appetizer and soup.
He followed that by asking about her relationships with her husband and her former lover, and her plans for that night more than 1 1/2 years ago.
“You had about 20 ounces of alcohol that night. … Would you say your judgment was impaired?” the Seattle lawyer asked.
She said “yes,” adding that she did not plan on getting drunk.
Deputy Prosecutor Frank Jenny told jurors that Aguirre knew there was no consent to sexual contact when the woman was passed out next to him in bed.
“He touched her in a manner that a reasonable person would find offensive, constituting an assault,” he said.
The woman was reluctant to call authorities that morning because Aguirre was a police officer at the time. After talking it over with family, she called a detective she knew at the Grandview Police Department, who then brought in sheriff’s detectives from both Franklin and Benton counties to avoid a conflict with the Pasco Police Department.
When Aguirre met with detectives a week later, he “gave a statement that can best be described as ‘I didn’t have sexual (contact), but if I did I was so drunk I don’t remember what happened. And if I did, it wasn’t my fault,’” Jenny said in his opening statements.
He told jurors that evidence will be introduced showing Aguirre’s DNA was on the woman’s underwear.
Lee countered that his client — a 27-year career officer before resigning in April 2015 — “knew darn well he didn’t have to give a statement (to detectives). … He wanted to tell the story, partly to deny the allegations.”
He asked jurors to “use your common sense, have a little bit of courage, and tell the government, ‘No, you’ve gone too far’” in charging Aguirre with these crimes.
The trial is expected to last several days.