Taylor Watson acquitted in controversial "too drunk to consent?" rape case
Watson told authorities the woman consented, but earlier, he allegedly told a friend something different entirely.
Yesterday, a Rice County jury acquitted Taylor Watson of all charges stemming from a sexual encounter he had with a very drunk female friend last April.
On that night, an 18-year-old woman -- Watson's friend and onetime lover years ago -- crashed at his Faribault apartment after drinking eight beers in a two-to-three hour period. While she lay in a drunken stupor on Watson's futon, Watson had sexual relations with her. He initially told a friend he had sex with the woman, but later said he was lying when he made that claim while under being questioned by investigators. He was 21 at the time of the incident.
A Faribault Daily News report from last May provides some context about the allegations, which could've landed Watson in prison for 30 years:
The girl said she had drunk eight beers in a two-to-three hour period and that she didn't remember anything after going to a public parking lot with friends at about midnight.
The girl said the next thing she remembers was being woken up on a futon in Watson's apartment at about 6 a.m. the next morning. She said she woke up in Watson's clothes but didn't remember changing at any point, and that she recalls her pelvic area being sore but didn't think anything of it because she was "so intoxicated," the report said...
Watson allegedly [later] told [a male] friend that he had touched the girl's genitals, performed oral sex on her, and had sex with her. Watson also reportedly said that the girl had said "no" several times and something to the effect of, "I can't do this," though Watson said he didn't stop.
The girl said she sent a text message to Watson after being told what happened and that he had responded by saying she wasn't that drunk and that everything was OK. He later sent another message saying that she was "so hammered" and that she "did not know what happened and could not remember anything."
The woman reported the incident to police, and a detective went to question him. Under questioning, Watson reportedly became agitated and told the detective, "This is shit. They always cry wolf!"
A Faribault Daily News report published yesterday details Watson acquittal on all counts:
Three of the charges against Watson involved allegations that the girl was physically helpless during the sex acts. The state argued that the girl was so intoxicated that she couldn't have given consent or non-consent that night...
The jury, made up of eight men and four women, deliberated for just two hours and came back with findings of not guilty on all four criminal sex conduct charges...
In an interview after the verdict was announced, [defense attorney Terry] Watkins said the case was a very important one, especially for younger people. He had argued that the girl had intentionally gotten drunk and then asked to stay at Watson's apartment.
"What we had here was voluntary, intentional intoxication ending in a rape trial," he said. "Rape is a horrible thing to go through, I understand that, but we have to be careful when rising to that level, when setting that standard."
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