Accused rapist apologized to woman |

Accused rapist apologized to woman

A Grass Valley man accused of raping a disabled woman blamed his drunken state for his actions and apologized to her in a taped phone conversation three days after the alleged rape occurred.

Deputy District Attorney Katy Francis played the tape in a preliminary hearing held for defendant Dino Leal Thursday morning in Nevada County Superior Court.

Leal is charged with raping an unconscious person, which carries a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison.

He was arrested by Grass Valley police Feb. 21 after the alleged victim told authorities Leal raped her Feb. 18 while she was asleep in her trailer on the 700 block of South Auburn Street.

The woman testified Thursday that Leal, whom she had never met before, went to her trailer that snowy evening to deliver cigarettes to her as a favor to his friend who could not deliver the cigarettes himself.

The woman suffers from acute Hepatitis C, cirrhosis of the liver, severe nerve damage in her back, Mediterranean fever and bipolar disorder. She said she was not able to drive to the store to get the cigarettes.

The woman, who undergoes frequent chemotherapy treatments and takes methadone and other medications for her disorders, sat slightly hunched over in the witness stand.

“We just talked,” she said. “He seemed nice. He was nice enough to bring me cigarettes in the snow.”

She said she asked Leal to rub her calves because of the pain related to her illness.

“My legs hurt really bad,” she said. “It hurt so bad I was close to tears.”

She said Leal asked her if she wanted to have sex.

“I told him no thank you, I’m not interested,” she said. “I said ‘I have Hepatitis C and you’ll get it.'”

She said she fell asleep quickly because of the medication she was taking. She said she woke up half-clothed with Leal on top of her, raping her.

“I told him to get off,” she said. “He didn’t get off right away and I said ‘Get off now.'”

She said Leal was apologetic and wanted to “snuggle” with her.

The woman said she didn’t tell Leal to leave because it was snowing and she felt sorry for him, so she told him to sleep on the couch.

“I felt bad,” she said, “because, like I said, he brought me cigarettes.”

She said Leal left the next morning after she told him to.

The woman said she went to a motel with a friend to take a long shower because the hot water in her trailer didn’t work, she said.

She called the police the next day and was examined at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Grass Valley Police Detective Jason Perry recorded a phone conversation the alleged victim made from her trailer to Leal’s workplace two days later.

During the conversation, Leal claimed he was drunk the night of the alleged incident and that he made a mistake

She asked him why he raped her.

“I’m stupid,” he said. “It’s not right. I’m very sorry for my actions.”

The woman told Leal he probably contracted Hepatitis C from her, to which he responded again, that he had made a mistake.

Leal asked the woman if she was going to tell police he raped her.

After a pause, she said, “What would you call it?”

She told him the doctor at the hospital collected her DNA, and that he was “in trouble.”

Leal, who was convicted in 1998 of committing a lewd act upon a child, pleaded innocent to the new charge.

In a preliminary hearing April 4, two Nevada County Superior Court judges had to excuse themselves form hearing the case.

Judge Robert Tamietti recognized the victim from his work with her in Prop 36 drug court, which she attended for a drug charge.

Judge Julie McManus was the prosecutor in the 1998 case against Leal.

In court Thursday, Judge John Darlington said he did not have a conflict of interest by hearing the new case against Leal.

Leal is currently incarcerated in Wayne Brown Correctional Facility and is scheduled for another pre-trial hearing 1:30 p.m. May 22 in Nevada County Superior Court.


To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion .com or call 477-4236.

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