Trish Mehaffey, CR Gazette –
A 20 -year-old former University of Iowa student was found guilty Friday by a Johnson County jury of sexually assaulting another student along the west side of the Pentacrest Oct. 3, 2010.
Evan Michael Pfeifer, 20, of Lake Barrington, Ill., was convicted of third-degree sexual abuse and faces 10 years in prison following a four day trial. The jury deliberated for about three hours on Friday.
The victim, now 21 but 19 at the time of the sexual assault, testified last Wednesday she had been drinking before the University of Iowa football homecoming game that day with friends and then went to party at her sister’s apartment. She was with five or six friends and they were walking home from the party about 2 a.m. They all had been drinking and were intoxicated but they were all able to function – “not slurring words or stumbling” she said.
She had an argument with her sister at the party because her sister didn’t know she was bringing her friends and one of them had brought marijuana. The victim said they were walking home as a group but she got behind them as they went through campus by the Pentacrest, the area surrounding the Old Capital, back to Stanley Hall. She was trying to call or text her sister to apologize.
Three friends with her that night corroborated her account of what they did that night and how she got behind them and she wasn’t with them when they reached Stanley Hall.
When the group got ahead of her, a man, who later she identified as Pfeifer, approached her and struck up a conversation. He seemed polite and she wasn’t worried at that point. She told him she needed to catch up with her friends who were headed to Stanley Hall, where they lived, and she needed to go with them to get in. The man said he lived at Stanley and would let her in.
Pfeifer then led her over by a tree and they both ended up on the ground, she said. The woman couldn’t explain how it happened. He didn’t push her just kind of “guided” her down on the ground. He then rolled on top of her and held her down, pinning her hands and arms under his knees and he placed his hand over her mouth to prevent her from yelling. She struggled to get free and told him to stop before he covered her mouth but then she gave up.
“I was overcome and in shock,” the woman said tearful at times during her testimony. “I just kind of shut down at that point.”
When he took his hand off her mouth, she just kept mumbling “stop, get off” and he began kissing her face and telling her “you like it…you’re so pretty,” the woman said. Pfeifer continued to tell her she “liked it” during the assault and started talking more graphic to her.
“I just froze….I was mumbling,” she said. “I just gave up and waited for it to be over.”
The woman said Pfeifer then abruptly said he had to go and left. She put her clothes on and called one of her friends.
A witness testified Wednesday he saw two people in the early morning hours of Oct. 3, on the Pentacrest having sex. At first he thought they were a couple having sex in public but when they didn’t react to him yelling “Get a room,” he got suspicious. The male looked straight at him and “looked nervous” and the woman, which he thought would be startled, had no reaction.
The man continued to watch them from a distance and when they got up and each walked in separate directions, he approached the woman. She was on the phone and “sobbing.” He asked her if “that was a rape” and she nodded yes.
The victim went to the hospital after the assault, where samples were collected for a sexual assault kit but she didn’t report the incident to police that night.
The woman said she recognized Pfeifer the next week on campus but he didn’t see her and she didn’t confront him. About two weeks later when she was with her sister she saw him riding a bike on campus and her sister followed him into a building.
The victim’s sister testified she approached Pfeifer, struck up a conversation and got his name. Pfeifer told her he would look her up on Facebook so she suggested the victim should look him up on Facebook, thinking this might verify any doubts she had and encourage her to report the sexual assault.
The victim reported the assault Nov. 1, 2010 about two weeks after her sister talked to Pfeifer.