Alleged victim takes stand in Seaton rape trial

Surveillance video shown in Seaton trial
EVIDENCE: Hair matching the victim was found on the Mayor's couch, where the alleged assaults occurred
EVIDENCE: Hair matching the victim was found on the Mayor's couch, where the alleged assaults occurred
ACCUSED: Former Shreveport Assistant CAO Rick Seaton arrives at the Caddo Parish Courthouse for day 2 of his bench trial for forcible rape and abuse of office
ACCUSED: Former Shreveport Assistant CAO Rick Seaton arrives at the Caddo Parish Courthouse for day 2 of his bench trial for forcible rape and abuse of office

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The woman prosecutors say former Shreveport Assistant Chief Administrative Officer raped in the Mayor's office took the stand Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors say it was a difficult decision for her to testify.

"It took a lot of preparation to get her to the point where she could testify.  I don't mean preparation by this is what you need to say, this is how you need to handle the question.  I mean a lot of hand holding and hugging and this is the right thing to do.  You can be strong, you can do it," said Assistant D.A. Hugo Holland.

Tearful at times, prosecutors first took her through the timeline of events on the night of the Independence Bowl in Shreveport in December 2010, beginning with the ruckus involving her and her inebriated boyfriend following the game. He was ultimately arrested and sent to the city jail.

On the stand, she admits to having several "jack and cokes" and some beer at the game. She says she doesn't remember the scuffle after the game, or getting off the chartered bus with Rick Seaton after being placed there by a Shreveport Police officer trying to send her back to her hotel to sober up and wait for her boyfriend to bond out.

"She was 3-4 times the legal limit at the time the sexual assault took place," said Holland.

She told the court on Wednesday that her memory picks up where she recalls feeling "uncomfortable" on the ride to the bail bondsman.  Becoming emotional at this point in her testimony, she recalls asking the bondsman for a ride because the "detective" waiting outside for her was making unwanted advances.  The bondsman testified Tuesday that he declined to give her a ride because he smelled alcohol on her breath and he believed she had been drinking.

She goes on to recount Seaton offering the use of the phone in his office, describing how he allegedly pulled her into his lap while she stood behind his desk to make calls to area bail bondsmen.  She claims she finally faked a successful call to a bail bondsman in an attempt to give them a reason to get out of the empty building. She told prosecutors she thought the building would be full of people when he suggested they head there to make the calls.

Before they could leave, she says Seaton asked her, "Do you want to see something cool?" and took her into the Mayor's office.  Once there, she says he made lewd suggestions.  At that point, she says she told him she needed to go to the bathroom, figuring he would have to let her out of the office to a restroom in the hallway.  Instead, he directed her to the Mayor's private bathroom.  Once inside, she recalls trying to text her boyfriend in hopes of raising an alarm, only to realize she had his cell phone and hers was dying.

Prosecutors presented the text that her boyfriend never received: "tell police that officer john raped me babe please I'll do anything for you but I can't fight this man no more" She was unable to explain why she used the name "john" in the text.

Seaton, according to the woman's testimony, then asked her what she was doing. When she opened the door, she says he came into the bathroom and pinned her against the wall as she told him to stop.  She says he pulled her to the couch and ripped her pants down, tearing out her bellybutton ring in the process.

In graphic detail, the young woman described what happened next, as Seaton allegedly sexually assaulted her three times on the couch. She recalls that at one point, when Seaton left the room, she thought he would come back with a weapon and killer her. Instead, he came back wearing a condom. When it was over, she says he pulled her on to his lap, looked into her face and when he saw she was crying, pushed her off of his lap and got dressed.

Leaving the Mayor's office, the woman says they headed to an ATM to get money for her boyfriend's bail.  At that point, she told the court that she realized she did not have her underwear. They returned to the office to look for it, but says they never found it.

She says he then dropped her off at Sam's Town Casino. Surveillance video shows the woman looking back at the car she had just gotten out of, and going into a bar off the lobby inside the casino and asking the bartender for a pen.  She can be seen writing something down – the license plate of the car that had just dropped her off. After that, she says, she met up at the lobby escalator with her mother and the police officer that had been called when she was reported missing.

Throughout the emotional testimony, Seaton showed no reaction. When asked to confirm whether the man she was referring to was in the courtroom, she did so, but appeared to have difficulty looking at him.

Following a brief recess, Seaton's defense began cross-examination, beginning with questions focusing on what his accuser does not remember. The bench trial is expected to wrap up on Thursday.

Holland says the Prosecution plans to rest their case tomorrow.  Then, the defense will present their case.  We asked Seaton's lawyer for an interview, but he declined.  He would also not comment on if Seaton will take the stand.

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