By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Woman testifies in sex assault case
Derek Larosh, 29, formerly of Monroe, sits in the courtroom during his trial regarding his sexual assault case at the Green County Justice Center Wednesday. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - A former Monroe man appeared in court Wednesday for the first day of a scheduled three-day trial on charges of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in 2014.

Derek J. Larosh, 29, Rock Springs, appeared before a 12-person jury and Green County Circuit Judge Thomas Vale on two Class C felony counts of second-degree sexual assault of an unconscious victim and through the use of force, as well as four misdemeanor counts of bail jumping, represented by his attorney William Ginsberg. Appearing for the prosecution was Assistant District Attorney Laura Kohl.

Kohl began the trial by recounting the reported events of July 27, 2014.

Kohl described the experiences of the woman Larosh is charged with assaulting. After a day of drinking with friends, the woman went to the Friendly Inn in Monroe in the early morning hours of July 27. There she drank a shot of liquor and a mixed beverage.

She remembered nothing after that, Kohl said.

Her next memory, Kohl said, was of waking up in an unknown bed, in an unknown room, with a stranger performing sexual acts upon her. When the woman screamed in response, the stranger placed a hand over her mouth and said "shhh."

Later, Kohl said, after the woman learned the man's name, she confronted him via Facebook, demanding to know what he did to her. In response, the man, Larosh, wrote "nothing got naked and really loud...that's about it."

A sexual assault test, however, would confirm the presence of Larosh's DNA in the woman's vagina and anus. Larosh would also confirm with police that he had had sexual intercourse with the woman but claimed it was consensual, Kohl said.

Ginsberg's opening statement urged the jury to keep an open mind and not fill in the details of the case before evidence is shown.

Ginsberg then described at length the phenomenon referred to as a "blackout": where circumstances, generally heavy drinking, can disrupt a person's abilities to form memories.

"People can still participate in complicated behavior but not retain any memory of it," Ginsberg said.

Ginsberg also said that Larosh's parents, with whom Larosh was living at the time, had no recollection of anyone screaming or crying. He also said that the sexual assault test on the woman found no swollen tissue or signs of bleeding, that Larosh's Facebook messages could be interpreted to mean that he did not lie about having sex with the woman and that having one's mouth covered did not constitute "use of force."

Kohl then called the woman to testify.

The woman described the events of the night that she could remember, and then described how she awoke in a strange bed with no underwear or pants on. Larosh returned her clothes and she left the house, she said.

"I felt sick to my stomach," the woman said. "I was confused and scared and was trying to put things together."

Later that day, she said, she had a recollection of "waking up in excruciating pain" with Larosh performing sexual acts before blacking out again seconds later. After the recollection, she contacted Larosh, who told her that "nothing happened," and she subsequently contacted police.

"I wasn't scared about going to the police, I was scared that, by turning him in, people would start to come after me," the woman said. "I was worried about people finding out."

Kohl provided various exhibits: transcripts of the woman's Facebook conversation with Larosh, a sketch of Larosh's room, items she left at Larosh's residence and transcripts of her interview with the examining nurse prior to her sexual assault test.

Ginsberg cross-examined the woman, asking her if, because she did not remember the events of the night, it was possible that she may have performed sexual acts upon Larosh. The woman reluctantly conceded that it was possible but said it was not possible that she would have undressed on her own.

Ginsberg also questioned the woman's motives in her online confrontation with Larosh, asking if her opening question to Larosh - "what did you do to me?" - was meant to be challenging. The woman said it was meant to give Larosh an opportunity to explain his side of the story. Ginsberg then pointed out a later part in the conversation where the woman vehemently refused to meet with Larosh for an explanation. The woman responded by saying she did not want to meet Larosh in person because she "didn't feel safe with him."

The woman also could not remember how loudly she may have screamed during the assault, despite prompting from Ginsberg.

After cross-examination by Ginsberg and Kohl, the woman was dismissed and court was adjourned.

Before the trial, Ginsberg said he only intended to call two witnesses, Larosh's parents. It is unclear how many witnesses Kohl intends to call.

The trial is scheduled to continue until Friday. Larosh's charges carry a maximum possible sentence of 50 years in prison.