Rape Trial of Ex-San Clemente Officer Begins : Court: Issue of consent is at the heart of the case against the former policeman charged with assaults of three women. The first of the accusers testifies.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The crucial issue of consent is at the heart of the case against a former San Clemente police officer charged with raping three women, prosecution and defense lawyers agreed Tuesday at the start of the trial.

David Wayne Bryan, 32, faces eight felony counts, which together carry a possible prison term of up to 40 years. Fired for violating Police Department regulations, Bryan is now free on $50,000 bail.

In their opening statements to the Superior Court jury, both attorneys covered the same incidents in detail but interpreted them differently.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jan C. Sturla told jurors that the women involved--a convenience store clerk, another former member of the San Clemente Police Department and a woman who once lived with Bryan--each tried to refuse his advances but he would not take no for an answer.

Deputy Public Defender Leonard Gumlia said that relations between Bryan and the women were in all cases consensual and that when women were "clear and forceful" and unambiguous, he always backed off.

The first of the three accusers to testify, a 21-year-old convenience store clerk from Minnesota, testified that Bryan took her to his home in late January and assaulted her three times, despite her pleas and struggling.

Bryan's lawyer said the woman was a drug and alcohol abuser and a self-described sex addict whose account of the incident was "fictionalized."

The woman acknowledged her problems with alcohol and drugs. Before the incident involving Bryan, the woman had joined Alcoholics Anonymous and spent a month in a residential substance abuse program.

After the incident, she said, she was hospitalized for five weeks and was frequently sedated.

The woman couldn't remember many details of the January incident, including those she had recalled in earlier recorded interviews and testimony.

She did recall that, while on patrol duty, Bryan had come into the store where she was working the night shift. They chatted and bantered and he asked for her telephone number, which she gave him. She acknowledged that she was attracted to him.

Two days later, he called her at her home, and said he would pick her up in five minutes. She said she told him not to come over, but he did anyway, and she got into his car. Against her wishes, she said, Bryan drove her to his house.

Asked by Gumlia why she did not get out of the car when it stopped at a stop sign, or on the way into the house, she said she didn't know. Gumlia also accused the woman of "playing games" with Bryan.

The woman said that, at first, she was afraid to report the incident to San Clemente police because Bryan was then a member of the force. When she did report the incident the next day, the woman said, the investigating officers "made me feel like a liar and a slut."

An emergency room doctor from Good Samaritan Medical Center in San Clemente testified that when the woman was brought in by officers, he found a bruise on her neck and tenderness on her sternum and inner thighs.

Before the store clerk testified, the prosecution called a current member of the San Clemente Police Department, Nancy P. Bean.

Bean, though not one of the alleged victims who are parties to the suit, told of an encounter she had with Bryan in the police parking lot before he was fired. She said that Bryan appeared to be under the influence of alcohol when he told her that he had applied for a police workshop because he wanted to sleep with her.

Bean said she told him "I was not going to sleep with him. I told him that no means no," but that Bryan replied: "You don't know me well. . . . When I want something, I get it."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
57°