(12:50 PM) Opening Statements Made In 2018 Rape Case

Dennis L. Park

MAYVILLE — Opening statements were made this morning in Chautauqua County Court in the trial of a Conewango man accused of rape and criminal sex acts of two women in separate incidents last year.

Dennis L. Park, 34, was in court Tuesday for the beginning of his trial. He is being represented by Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone. Michael Flaherty of the District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting.

Flaherty, in his opening remarks, said Park forced a woman at a Jamestown laundromat to perform oral sex on him in a bathroom while holding her at knifepoint. The incident took place July 17, 2018.

Police were called immediately after the alleged assault, and Park was later identified.

Flaherty said Park told the woman: “I’m raping you. Don’t fight or I am going to kill you.”

Park is also accused of raping a different woman July 11, 2018, near a vacant industrial building in Jamestown. Details of the incident had not previously been made public.

The woman, who also sought treatment at UPMC Chautauqua, told police she was held at knifepoint during the incident.

Park was indicted on charges of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree criminal sex act.

However, in his opening remarks, Barone rejected the prosecution’s accusations. He said there is no evidence Park forced any of the woman to have sex.

Barone said Park and the woman at the industrial park had agreed to meet again after she was reportedly raped. The public defender also questioned the woman, who he said has provided “inconsistent statements” to police.

“The stories are not consistent,” Barone told jurors. “The remarks, they are inconsistent. They are questionable.”

After opening remarks, the former manager of the convenience store and laundromat took the stand. She briefly described the layout of the business where the July 17, 2018, assault is alleged to have taken place.

Court was adjourned for lunch at noon.

See more coverage in Wednesday’s edition of The Post-Journal.


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