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Watkins Rape Case Goes to Jury

By Joshua A. Gerstein

A Middlesex Superior Court jury began deliberations yesterday morning in the case of a Law School student charged with the rape of a Harvard undergraduate.

Kevin T. Watkins, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is accused of raping his ex-girlfriend twice in his Peabody Terrace apartment on December 11, 1988. At the time of the alleged rape, Watkins was a second-year law student and the woman was a sophomore at the College. Watkins is not attending the Law School this year.

During yesterday's session, defense attorney Willie Davis and prosecutor George Fisher presented their closing arguments and Judge Paul Chernoff informed the jury of the legal standards involved in the case.

Speaking first, Davis told the jury that the government had not met its burden to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. "Her testimony to the effect that it was not consensual is all you have," he said.

Davis reminded the jury that the alleged victimhad sex willingly with Watkins on numerousoccasions, consented to his videotaping one oftheir encounters and agreed to be videotaped nudein front of Watkins and another man. But theattorney said he was "not saying that a person whoconsents [to those activities] cannot be raped."Rather, jurors should "put it into the pot andstir it around," he said.

Davis also asked the jury not to pass judgmenton his client's sexual mores or on his allegedunwillingness to erase the explicit videotape thecouple had made.

"Your personal feelings about making the tapesand whether or not he should give them back to hercannot sway the day," Davis argued.

Davis also said that the undergraduate'stestimony that she removed her coat, sweater andshoes when she visited Watkins apartment on theday of the alleged rape showed that she was"settling in" and cast doubt on her claim that shewent there only to pick up a copy of a videotapein which she appeared nude.

In his final statement to the jury, AssistantDistrict Attorney George Fisher took issue withDavis' suggestion that the alleged victimfabricated the rape because she was angry aboutWatkins' refusal to erase nude videotapes of her.

"Why would she lie to you?" Fisher asked thejury, adding that weaknesses in the woman's storywere evidence of its truth. He said "anyone wouldbe upset" about the situation with the videotapebut that her prolonged "hysteria" following theDecember incident indicated that something morehad happened.

Fisher portrayed Watkins as power-hungry andsaid he had gained power-hungry and said he hadgained power through the "systematic degradation"of the alleged victim. He also urged the jury toremember that rape is illegal, whether theassailant knows the victim or not.

"Rape isn't always between strangers. It isn'talways in bushes or along streets at night. Itisn't always at the point of a knife," Fishersaid.

On Monday, the explicit video admitted asevidence in the case was screened for reporters.The first part of the tape shows the allegedvictim and the defendant engaged in sexual acts.The end of the tape shows a sequence in whichWatkins, the alleged victim and another studentturn and disrobe in response to verbalinstructions.

In her testimony, the undergraduate saidWatkins videotaped her and other students nude forthe organization he headed, the Society of BlackProfessional Entrepreneurs. Watkins said the tapeswere needed so that true members could beidentified in the event the club was everinfiltrated, she said.

Last week, Diana Concepcion, a woman who livedin the Peabody Terrace apartment below Watkins'testified that she heard a woman's screams on theafternoon that the rape allegedly occurred.

According to Concepcion, a woman in Watkins'apartment yelled "Let me out!" three or fourtimes. "It sounded like a door had been opened andclosed several times," she said. Concepciontestified that she later saw the alleged victimrunning from the apartment in tears.

In addition to the alleged victim andConcepcion, a University Health Services socialworker, a Harvard police officer and a Harvard LawSchool investigator testified as prosecutionwitnesses. Watkins declined to testify and hislawyer called no witnesses on his behalf.

As a matter of policy, The Crimson does notprint the names of alleged victims of rape orsexual harassment

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