Women testify against alleged rapist
SUNBURY - Four women allegedly sexually assaulted by a Mount Carmel man last year testified Tuesday that the defendant drugged them to the point where they passed out and didn't recall having sex when they woke up the next morning in the suspect's bedroom.
Barry Thomas Adams, 31, who was charged by Mount Carmel police with raping or having indecent sexual contact with the victims, three of whom he reportedly met on Facebook, stared at each of the witnesses from the defense table and didn't show much emotion.
Also testifying during the 2 1/2-hour pre-trial hearing before President Judge William H. Wiest were Mount Carmel Cpl. David Donkochik, Chief of Police Todd Owens and Patrolman Justin Stelma. Adams did not take the stand.
Adams' attorney Timothy Bowers was successful in having first assistant district attorney Ann Targonski withdraw two counts each of rape of an impaired person, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with an impaired person and indecent assault with an impaired person due to lack of evidence in cases involving two Ashland women.
All other charges were upheld.
Targonski argued that the victims were sexually assaulted while they were unconscious after being drugged by Adams, while Bowers claimed the sexual acts were consensual or never occurred.
Adams was charged by borough police with multiple felony offenses, including two counts of rape, relating to incidents involving a 36-year-old Ashland woman that occurred between the evening hours of Nov. 21 and Thanksgiving morning, 2012, at his home. She came forward after reading about previous charges filed against Adams, police said.
He was charged by borough police with multiple felony offenses for allegedly raping a 32-year-old Ashland woman and having sexual contact with a 26-year-old Danville female and a 57-year-old Elysburg woman. Police said those offenses occurred Feb. 27, Sept. 7 and Nov. 2, respectively, at Adams' residence at 111 N. Market St.
He is accused of drugging the women at local bars and then raping or having indecent sexual contact with the victims. Adams allegedly befriended the victims before meeting them in taverns and buying them drinks. He reportedly showed the victims photographs of a man he claimed to be himself in an attempt to meet the victims in person. But police said the photographs depicted on Facebook were someone else.
The Elysburg victim testified that she initially had contact with Adams through Facebook before meeting him for a drink and food two months later at a Mount Carmel restaurant. When they met, the witness said Adams already had a rum and coke waiting for her at the bar.
The victim said she was surprised to see that Adams was a different person from the photograph he posted on Facebook.
The witness said she was fine when she left restaurant and later met Adams at the Hard Coal Cafe in Mount Carmel, where she became dizzy and light-headed after having another drink. She recalled almost falling over at a table on her way to the bathroom before leaving the bar with Adams, but did not remember anything after that until waking up the next morning in Adams' bed with some of her clothes off.
The witness, who almost fell down the steps at the defendant's home after feeling very ill, said Adams told her nothing had happened between them. She then left the home and drove home while "seeing double" all the way there.
After sleeping for many hours, the victim took advice from some friends to go to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital to be evaluated and have blood work done. But she said the results showed no drugs in her system.
The witness said the blood work was done about 24 hours after she claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Adams.
The victim said she then contacted Adams on Facebook and told him she was going to the police and that he wasn't going to get away with sexually assaulting her. She said Adams once again denied having sex with her or stealing her wallet containing $100.
The 32-year-old Ashland victim recalled meeting Adams at Shaulinski's Bar in Mount Carmel through a female friend who was supposed to meet her but never showed up at the tavern. She recalled having two beers and a shot with Adams before passing out and not remembering anything else.
The witness said she began "freaking out" the next morning when she woke up at Adams' home and asked him, "What the hell happened?"
She said Adams told her, "You don't remember. We had sex."
The victim said she then ran out of the residence and drove home. She said Adams texted her later to see if she was OK.
She said she felt a lump and dried blood on her head before driving to St. Catherine's Medical Center Fountain Springs for a "rape kit" exam.
When asked by Targonski why she had the exam done, she replied, "Common sense would tell you something happened."
The victim said she never consented to having sex with Adams.
Stelma testified that the 32-year-old Ashland woman fell off a bar stool twice and had to be carried out of the tavern by Adams.
In an interview conducted with Adams, the defendant admitted taking the victim home, where he claimed she began making aggressive sexual advances toward him. Stelma said Adams told him the victim kissed him and undressed himself and herself before engaging in sexual intercourse and anal sex.
The 26-year-old Danville woman and 36-year-old Ashland victim provided similar accounts about Adams drugging them and having sex without their consent.
According to interviews conducted with each of the victims, Donkochik said Adams provided the women with either Tylenol PM or Aleve PM mixed with alcohol, which resulted in the victims passing out. He said the victims reported Adams then had sex with them without their consent while they were unconscious.
The corporal said he discovered a very similar pattern in the alleged crimes.
Donkochik said none of the victims knew each other at the time of the offenses.
Posing as a female on Facebook as part of the investigation, Owens said he contacted Adams in November 2012 and requested to meet at the Hard Coal Cafe. He said Adams wanted to have sex and asked what type of undergarments he had, but the two never met.
The police chief said members of the Northumberland-Montour Drug Task Force set up surveillance on Adams at his residence and detained him when he left the home.
Owens said a search warrant was executed on Adams' residence, where a Dell computer and several prescription medications that cause drowsiness were confiscated.
Owens said police did not find Rohypnol, which is known as the "date rape" drug in Adams' residence, but said the prescription medications made out to Adams caused some of the same effects as the Rhoypnol when mixed with alcohol.
Donkochik testified that Adams told him he got a "high" from taking the prescription medications that were allegedly used to drug the women.
Wiest said he will review all the testimony before making decisions to separate the cases and allow Adams to be released on nominal bail.
Bowers argued for nominal bail for his client because he hasn't been brought to trial within 180 days after his incarceration. Adams has been jailed at Northumberland County Prison for 207 days since his arrest.
Targonski objected to releasing Adams under Rule 600 because the defense has requested continuances in the case, which eliminates the 180-day requirement.
Adams was previously represented by assistant public defender Paige Rosini. But the defendant later dropped Rosini as his attorney and hired Bowers and Kymberley Best in December.
Despite a delay caused by a change of attorneys, Bowers claimed the defense was ready to take the case to trial in January.
After the hearing, Bowers stated, "I'm extremely happy with some of the most serious charges being withdrawn and look forward to the judge's ruling."
Targonski reserved comment.