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Mistrial ruled in Olympic wrestler's Colorado rape trial

On Monday of this week, the jury in a rape trial involving an Olympic wrestler was dismissed when they could not reach a verdict after deliberating for almost nine hours over two days. The Colorado 4th Judicial District judge ordered a mistrial and set a hearing for next week, at which time the prosecution is expected to announce if it will pursue a retrial.

The jury members reached a deadlock over whether or not the 33-year-old male wrestler had committed sexual assault against a female wrestler in 2008 in her dorm room at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The rape allegedly occurred after the woman passed out drunk at a bar located in downtown Colorado Springs.

But, like in many rape cases, there were two conflicting stories of the encounter and no witnesses. The woman told the court that she had passed out and awoke to the 33-year-old forcing himself onto her, but because of her drunken state, could not say anything or push the man off.

On the other hand, the 33-year-old man testified that the sex between the two had been consensual that night and that the woman was conscious the entire time. The man's lawyer told the jury that the woman was "a self-described party girl."

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the man was a member of the United States wrestling team at the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he won a silver medal. The man then retired from the sport after he did not make the team again in 2008.

Of all the criminal offenses in Colorado, sex offenses carry some of the strictest prison sentences. Not only that, being a convicted sex offender leads to having to register as one and often being publicly ostracized. Accordingly, if you are accused of committing a sex offense, it is extremely important to have strong legal representation to protect your rights.

Source: Colorado Springs Gazette, "Jurors can't reach verdict in Olympic wrestler's rape trial," 4/25/2011.

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