Jury Goes Out on Napa County Massage Rape Case

Verdict expected later this week.

Napa County Courthouse
Napa County Courthouse
After several days of trial, the rape case against a former Yountville spa masseur was placed in the hands of a Napa County jury late Tuesday. 

The jury of eight men and four women went into conference just before 4 p.m. Tuesday to try to reach a verdict on whether Elbrick Pasayes Albizures, 30, of Dixon, was guilty of raping and digitally penetrating a long-time client, known as Jane Doe, on April 13, 2013, as she alleges. 

Or, the jury could decide that the sexual interaction that occurred on that day was consensual and was even encouraged by Jane Doe, as Albizures testified Monday.  In that case, he would be found not guilty.

Both defense attorney Thomas Maas and Napa County Deputy District Attorney Lance Hafenstein used their closing arguments Tuesday to cast doubt on their opposing clients' testimonies. Both accused the other's client of lying or flip-flopping on their versions of the truth.

Both also spoke to each client's motive. Maas said Jane Doe fabricated the rape because if she told her boyfriend, an executive with the NFL, that she had consensual sex with her masseur, their 10-year relationship would end, along with her livelihood.

"She said she's unable to work, because of her illness," Maas said of Jane Doe, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. "If she confesses that she got lost in the moment and had sex with her masseur, she's done."

But Hafenstein said Jane Doe's motive was to "assure that justice was done.
"Why would she make this up?" he said to the jury. "She wants you to know what happened."

Maas listed a number of  what he said were inconsistencies in what Jane Doe told different police investigators at different times. 

Napa County Sheriff's Dep. Keith Wamsley, who did the initial interview with Jane Doe after the incident, said in his testimony and in his report that Jane Doe told him the only objections she made to Albizures's alleged actions were to say "leave it alone" and slap away Albizures' hand when he placed his fingers in her genitals. 

There was no mention in Wamsley's report that she offered any other verbal or physical resistance when he climbed on the table and they had intercourse. But Maas said that story later changed.

"In June, she calls Napa County Sheriff's Det. Chris Pacheco and tells him she now remembers that she did cry out, 'get off of me,' and tried to push him away," Maas said.  

Maas noted that statement was difficult to reconcile because earlier witnesses testified that the spa at the Villagio Inn was "library quiet" and that any scuffle or noise would have been overheard, he said.

"There are holes in her story, that, under oath, she continues to deny," Maas said. "She refuses to admit that she said those things before." 

Hafenstein said Albizures, on the other hand, admitted he had lied to police about whether he finished the massage on Jane Doe after the sexual encounter.

He told police that he did finish by massaging her head and neck, but then recanted that statement, testifying Monday that in fact he did not finish because he was running late for his next appointment.

"Counsel (Maas) is defending his client as a credible witness," Hafenstein said. "But in practice, if you disclose that you lied about something, [the general practice is] to discount everything else someone says."

Maas said Albizures embellished the narrative to police on April 15 because by then, he had lost his job, was afraid of losing his marriage and feared he would be placed in jail. Maas said Albizures has now admitted the areas he lied -- and repeated the acknowlegement on the witness stand -- and that he has gone on to tell the truth about the other parts of the story.

"Do you have a doubt," he said, pointing at the 5' 1", 135-pound Albizures, "as to how this diminutive, peaceful, quiet man, could, after eight years of working with a client, all of a sudden,  for no reason, decide to forcibly insert his hand in her vagina and forcibly insert his penis?" 

Maas urged the jury that, if they have a doubt that a rape occurred "because of the confusing and contradictory" evidence presented by Jane Doe's testimony, "then you must vote not guilty." 

Hafenstein, however, disputed Maas' notion that the  "beyond the reasonable doubt" proof of rape would be impossible to achieve in this case because of alleged contradictory statements by Jane Doe. 

"A lot of people don't understand how rape victims are relayed information," he said. "To say someone's lying because they don't say the same thing over and over is naive.

"After hearing the testimony, the only reasonable conclusion to reach is that [Albizures] raped and digitally penetrated Jane Doe," Hafenstein told the jury.

Napa County Superior Court Judge Francisca Tiaher is presiding over the case. A verdict could come as soon as Wednesday, but it could be later as well.


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