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Ex-Officer in Rape Case Says He Acted as ‘Aggressor’ : Trial: Tape of David Bryan’s interview with D.A.'s investigator is played in court. Defendant denies using force.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former San Clemente police officer David Wayne Bryan, 33, acknowledged in a tape-recorded interview that he acted as the “aggressor” during sex with a convenience store clerk because of her “initial resistance.”

“She wasn’t sure that (having sex) was something she was wanting to do right off the bat . . . so I had to talk her into it. . . .” Bryan told an investigator from the district attorney’s office a day after the woman accused him of rape last January.

The tape recording was played for a Superior Court jury Thursday at Bryan’s trial on charges that he sexually assaulted the convenience store clerk and two other women, including a former San Clemente policewoman.

In other testimony Thursday, San Clemente Police Chief Albert C. Ehlow and a police lieutenant admitted they did nothing when the policewoman told them she had been a “victim” of Bryan last year.

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The 25-year-old woman, now a law student living in Laguna Niguel, testified Wednesday that Bryan had raped her at her home in June, 1990, after the two completed a night shift.

Ehlow said the woman officer had a discussion with him last April during which she made reference to her role as “a victim” in the Bryan case. He said that he did not press her for details of the charge.

In fact, Ehlow testified, he specifically said, “Don’t tell me about it,” because “I did not want to know anything about the case.”

The main reason he did not want to pursue the woman’s charge, Ehlow said, was “because of her seeming friendship with Dave Bryan,” who was on paid administrative leave while rape charges were being investigated. Bryan was later fired.

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Lt. Paul Falk, a 20-year veteran of the San Clemente force, agreed to testify Thursday but only under a grant of immunity. With the jury out of the courtroom, Falk told Judge David O. Carter that, on advice of his counsel, he would not testify about Bryan unless he was assured that nothing he said would be used to charge him with obstruction of justice.

The prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jan C. Sturla, told Carter he would agree to those conditions, and the judge signed an order to that effect.

The woman officer went to Falk last April--before she talked to the police chief--and told him that she had been contacted by investigators from the district attorney’s office about Bryan, Falk said.

Falk said she told him that she didn’t want to get involved in the Bryan investigation, although “she told me she had been raped” by Bryan.

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“I believed what she was saying to me,” Falk said, but because she requested confidentiality, he did not disclose the information to the district attorney’s office. Later, Falk said, he did discuss the matter with Ehlow.

About a month after these discussions, the woman’s employment was terminated by the Police Department at the end of her 18-month probationary period.

Edward J. Kovac, the district attorney’s investigator who conducted the interview with Bryan last Jan. 31, testified that he talked with Bryan the day after the rape charge was made by the convenience store clerk. A tape recording of the interview was played as jurors, attorneys, the defendant and the judge followed along with typed transcripts.

The 21-year-old woman, who has since returned to her home in Minnesota, testified earlier in the trial that Bryan would not take no for an answer from the time he picked her up at her house until he completed several sex acts at his home, at times restraining her physically.

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In the interview, Bryan denied using force, saying the incident was consensual, part of a “progression” and “the natural flow of a sexual encounter.”

Bryan acknowledged in the interview that he was “the aggressor . . . in making things happen” with the woman.

“There was initial resistance” by the woman, he said, which in his experience was “often the normal procedure that they’re a little reluctant to give up for lack of, for fear of being disrespected later. . . . So that kind of resistance, yes. . . . She gave up more and more and more until we were undressed and we made love or had sex.

Asked repeatedly by Kovac whether the woman ever voiced “any objection to what was happening,” Bryan replied:

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“No, with the exception of just the initial start of it . . . to make the man work a little bit for it, which is kind of normal.”


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