Nicole’s injuries imply forced sex, says doctor

Thursday, June 29, 2006
Witness: Dr. Rolando Ortiz II, medico-legal officer

A medico-legal officer who examined Nicole testified that the bruise on her inner genitalia was consistent with allegations of rape or sexual assault.

Dr. Rolando Ortiz III of James Gordon Memorial Hospital in Olongapo City said that the bruise indicated a forced entry of a blunt, cylindrical object into the complainant’s non-lubricated genitalia.

Ortiz added that lubrication of a woman’s genitalia means a woman is adequately stimulated, which usually happens during consensual sex.

Ortiz, who examined Nicole two days after she was allegedly raped by a US Marine while three others cheered him on, also found several bruises on her arms and legs. The contusions were grayish to black, indicating their recent origin – around 12 hours to four days after the injury.

He said Nicole could have obtained the bruises if she bumped into or hit herself with a blunt object, or if someone gripped her with great force.

Ortiz also told the court that Nicole was brought to their hospital on Nov. 2 and was checked up by another doctor. The said doctor could not issue a medical certificate because she was not the medico-legal officer. Nicole was sent home but was instructed to come back the next day.

Ortiz further said that he first saw Nicole on Nov. 3 at around 9 a.m. She was with a relative who signed her waiver of consent for a pelvic inspection. Before the inspection, Ortiz noted Nicole’s hesitation when he interviewed her. He said the 22-year-old complainant was very quiet, but she answered all the questions that he asked.

In the course of the inspection, Ortiz said he noticed an “unusual tenderness” in the walls of Nicole’s sex organ. This tenderness elicited pain. The doctor also found out that Nicole’s hymen (a membranous tissue covering the orifice of the genitalia) had a “deep, healed laceration.”

Ortiz clarified that this laceration was “incomplete;” it did not reach the base and passed only up to 50 percent of the genitalia. He further explained that owing to its hypersensivity, a woman’s hymen is really prone to lacerations.

Moreover, he said that the laboratory result of the specimen collected by the first doctor who examined Nicole yielded negative for spermatozoa. This however, did not rule out intercourse. Absence of sperm could mean the accused did not ejaculate inside Nicole’s genitalia, he ejaculated outside or he was wearing a condom, Ortiz said.

Earlier testimonies by witnesses backed the prosecution’s contention that the accused wore a condom when the alleged rape was committed.

Meanwhile, a brief delay occurred when, after a 10-minute court recess, the defense introduced a new counsel for accused Lance Cpl. Dominic Duplantis. Lawyer and physician Antonio Rebosa appealed to the court to be allowed to cross-examine the doctor.

The prosecution objected, saying it had not been informed of the new lawyer’s participation in the case. Even presiding judge Benjamin Pozon expressed his surprise.

Pozon however, allowed Rebosa to conduct the cross-examination after Duplantis affirmed that he hired the new lawyer to co-represent him with counsel Enrico Uyehara.

During Rebosa’s cross-examination, he tried but failed to probe into the complainant’s past relationships and sexual history. Private prosecutor Evalyn Ursua invoked the rule on privilege communication between doctors and patients.

“Nicole did not allow the doctor to disclose information about her,” Ursua said.

Privilege communication refers to a private conversation that was confidentially exchanged. Disclosure of what was said in the conversation cannot be compelled by a court.

Rebosa tried to reason out that “privilege communication does not apply in criminal cases” but the judge ruled in favor of the prosecution.

For several times, Rebosa tried to ask questions that the prosecution and the judge deemed hypothetical, immaterial and unnecessary. He even drew a black dot on a piece of yellow paper to make the doctor identify if it had the same size and color as Nicole’s bruises. The judge chided, “Mr. Rebosa, you are using a paper. It is not the same as human skin.”

Rebosa finally won a small victory when he made the doctor affirm that Nicole’s external bruises could have been caused by the onset of menstruation.

On the other hand, defense lawyer Francisco Rodrigo, counsel of Staff Sgt. Chad Carpentier, asked the doctor if Nicole’s bruises were caused by a consensual or a violent sex. Ortiz answered, “If you want me to choose between the use of force or consensual sex, I would say it is the use of force.”



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