County begins case vs. Watson, Toussaint

by John R. Carter

The alleged victim testified Wednesday on the first day of testimony in the sexual assault trial of two University football players.

Steven Watson and Mackenzy Toussaint are charged with first- and third-degree criminal sexual assault for allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old University woman July 6 in Roy Wilkins Hall.

Assistant Hennepin County attorney Karel Moersfelder called the alleged victim as the state’s first witness.

Moersfelder questioned the woman about the events leading up to, on and shortly after July 6.

“It’s affected my relationship with my family and home life in general,” the alleged victim said in court. “It’s had a negative impact on school and my mental health.”

The woman said she visited Gophers football player Thomas Tapeh and former player Clorenzo Griffin’s Roy Wilkins apartment the day of the alleged incident.

She said Toussaint and Watson arrived at the apartment later in the afternoon. After staying there for a short period, the men exposed the victim’s genitals in Griffin’s bedroom, the victim testified.

She said she and the defendants left the bedroom, then returned shortly afterward. The men, she said, then removed her clothing. Watson then penetrated the victim with his fingers, and Toussaint then forced her to perform oral sex, she said.

Watson allegedly left the bedroom while the woman finished performing oral sex on Toussaint. Toussaint went to take a shower, while Watson returned to the bedroom and attempted to penetrate the victim with his penis, she said.

Tapeh entered the bedroom and the woman used the interruption to prevent Watson from continuing, the alleged victim testified.

She said she left Tapeh’s apartment soon after and went to a friend’s house in St. Paul.

The alleged victim reported the incident approximately two weeks later to University police. Watson and Toussaint were charged soon after.

“I used to feel that I was guilty and it was my fault,” the woman said in court about her reluctance to report the incident. “It’s not my fault Ö people should be in control of their actions.”

Attorneys for both defendants cross-examined the alleged victim Wednesday afternoon. Toussaint’s attorney, Earl Gray, asked the woman about her previous sexual experience with Toussaint. She said that in June she performed consensual oral sex on Toussaint, but only after he persuaded her to do so.

Gray also questioned the woman about why she stayed in the apartment on July 6 after Watson and Toussaint allegedly exposed her genitals.

“When you were feeling uncomfortable you never thought of taking a left and leaving the apartment?” Gray asked.

“It crossed my mind,” she said.

Gray also asked the alleged victim why she never called for help and why her dress and underwear
weren’t torn.

Joe Friedberg, Watson’s defense attorney, suggested the woman wanted to have sexual intercourse with both men.

“You were saying you wanted to have sex with both of them, weren’t you?” Friedberg asked the alleged victim.

She denied the accusation.

Friedberg’s questioning will continue Friday morning, before the state presents the rest of its case.