A former Yuma police officer was found guilty Wednesday of raping and sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman related to him by marriage during a family get-together in San Diego last year.
After nearly four days of deliberations, jurors convicted 34-year-old Jared Elkins of one count each of forcible rape and sexual penetration by force and two counts of oral copulation by force. He was acquitted of rape, oral copulation and sexual penetration of an intoxicated person.
Elkins faces 14 years in prison when he is sentenced March 8, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Lisa Fox.
“Obviously, the fact that he was a law enforcement officer and carried a weapon was significant for the victim in this case because she believed that he would carry through with his threats and why she was so afraid of him,” Fox said outside court.
“And I think the jury found that the evidence did clearly support that she was afraid of him, and she was forced to do these crimes.”
Fox told jurors that the victim had known Elkins for years.
“She trusted him,” the prosecutor said in her closing argument. “She’s in her own home.”
After dinner and a night of drinking with other family members, Elkins and the victim were sitting on a couch watching a movie when she decided to go to bed about 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2017, Fox told the jury.
Elkins went into the woman’s room, forced sex acts on her, then raped her, threatening to kill her if she screamed, the prosecutor said. Fox said the victim waited until she thought Elkins was asleep in another room, then woke her mother and the two jumped out a window and ran off, with the mother calling 911.
Elkins said he was awakened the next morning by a call from the San Diego Police Department, telling him to come outside, where he was arrested. He later resigned from the Yuma Police Department.
A 51-year-old Yuma woman testified that Elkins tried to force anal sex on her after a night out in March of this year in their hometown. The woman said she called the San Diego County district attorney’s office after seeing the San Diego case on television. Elkins does not face charges in that case.
Elkins testified that the sex he had with the woman in Kensington was consensual and that he didn’t force her to do anything or threaten to kill her. He testified that she came on to him by cuddling on the sofa during the movie.
Defense attorney Ellis “Trip” Johnston told the jury the case was driven by fear of the victim knowing that she had just slept with the husband of a relative.
Johnston said the victim may have known the defendant better than she let on and may have had more to drink than she told authorities.
“It didn’t add up,” Johnston told the jury. “She lied about the amount of alcohol she had.”
Johnston said the victim was taking prescription drugs for anxiety and depression and the alcohol she drank may have caused her to have feelings of regret and being found out that she had sex with Elkins.