Doc admits lack of injuries can still prove rape

Monday, Sept. 25, 2006

A doctor, who testified last Monday that Nicole sustained no injuries significant to prove rape, acknowledged today that lack of physical injuries on the victim does not necessarily rule out sexual assault.

Defense’s expert witness Dr. Teresita Sanchez agreed with prosecutor Hazel Valdez when the latter quoted a book saying, “Evidence of injury is not essential for the prosecution of a rape case.”

Sanchez, an obstetrician-gynecologist, further admitted that depending on some factors, rape might not cause external injuries to the victim.

The doctor also confirmed she testified on direct examination that the absence of injuries in Nicole’s inner thighs and inner knees made her doubt that Nicole was raped.

“Nicole is susceptible to contusions. There should be contusions in her inner knees and inner thighs because you force the knees apart [for rape to be committed],” Sanchez explained.

Judge Benjamin Pozon interjected, telling Sanchez that she had no basis in saying that Nicole is prone to bruises.

“My basis is the medico-legal findings. It was my assurance that Nicole was susceptible to contusions,” the doctor said.

Sanchez was referring to the findings of Dr. Rolando Ortiz, II who examined Nicole two days after the alleged rape. Ortiz stated that Nicole had bruises on her right wrist, her upper left arm, her legs and her genital area.

Valdez then tried to establish that owing to Nicole’s drunken state, she would not be able to thwart the advances of prime suspect Lance Corporal Daniel Smith thereby reducing the chances of her getting injured.

However, Sanchez said that if Nicole was dead drunk, her legs would be heavy so one would have to use force to keep her legs apart.

Valdez attacked the doctor’s testimony, saying it was merely based on theories considering Sanchez did not know the “factual circumstances” surrounding the case – that Nicole only managed to push Smith slightly because she was very weak and dizzy.

Valdez then made Sanchez, also a lawyer, agree that based on the Revise Penal Code, rape is committed not only through the use of force.

Smith’s counsel, Ricardo Diaz, objected, saying that Valdez was asking for the legal opinion of the witness. He added that Sanchez was not testifying as a lawyer.
The prosecutor reformulated her question and asked instead if the force needed to abduct a pair of legs of a dead drunk is lesser than that of a resisting victim.

Sanchez said she wouldn’t be able to determine it because there are “many factors and variable involved.”

Valdez then attempted to make Sanchez agree with her that it is less likely for a dead drunk to sustain injuries than someone who resists sexual attack, but Sanchez simply said she would not know.

Sanchez also countered the prosecutor’s argument that a dead drunk’s form of resistance against sexual attack could only be through the heaviness of the legs. The doctor explained that the reflex of that person would be “to close the legs, rather than to open them.”

Valdez changed tack, pointing out that this is the first time for Sanchez to testify on a rape case involving a dead drunk victim.

The doctor admitted that of the five-seven cases of sexual assault that she testified on, none involved a non-resisting dead drunk victim. She added that the victims she has dealt with either resisted the assault or were too young to resist.

Valdez then ended the cross-examination with Sanchez concurring it is “possible that rape was committed even with the absence of external injuries.”

Valdez had asked Pozon last Monday for more time to prepare for the grilling of Sanchez, who also had training in forensics and toxicology.

Before today’s hearing started, the prosecutor conferred with Dr. Raquel Fortun, the forensic pathologist who testified as expert witness for the prosecution. Fortun sat beside Valdez all throughout the hearing.

Meanwhile, earlier during the cross-examination, Valdez rebutted the claim of Sanchez that a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 400 mg/dL-500 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) could already cause coma or death to a person.

Nicole’s BAC, per computation of six toxicologists from the Philippine General Hospital, was approximately 445.2 mg/dL.

Valdex also dismissed Sanchez’ statement as theoretical, saying that the doctor merely used the information she read from the book “Medico-Legal Investigation of Death.”

Valdez continued that the doctor have neither read the transcript of testimonies of those who witnessed how drunk Nicole was on the night of the alleged rape nor conducted an independent study on Nicole’s “drunkenness and behavior.”

Sanchez admitted that she only read the testimonies of Fortun and Dr. Kenneth Go, one of the toxicologists from PGH, and that she didn’t make a computation or correlation of the drunkenness and behavior of Nicole.

“I didn’t do an independent study because I lacked the facts. I personally know Dr. Go so I relied my analysis on his study,” Sanchez explained.

Valdez then attacked the doctor’s testimony regarding the deep healed lacerations in Nicole’s genitalia. Sanchez stated during direct examination that the said lacerations could have been caused by previous sexual intercourse.

Valdez pointed out, and Sanchez agreed, that lacerations could also result from reasons other than sex i.e. trauma during childhood, biking, etc.


1 Comment

  1. devora said,

    June 18, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Lezer ,Louis kestenbaum,The ODA in williamsburg ny A satmar Chasid is being accused. WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A teenage girl has filed a $50 million lawsuit against a New York billionaire, saying he sexually abused her when she was 14.

    Louis Kestenbaum”s attorney says the allegations are false and motivated by money. Kestenbaum is also the CEO of Fortis properties and the ODA a goverment funded organisation in the williamsburg section of Brooklyn NY

    The girl, now 17, claims Louis Kestenbaum invited her to his Florida mansion in 2005 to perform a massage for $300. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims he demanded she remove her clothes, then sexually assaulted her.

    The girl, her father and stepmother are seeking more than $50 million.

    Joel kestenbaum the son of Louis kestenabum had no comments.

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