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|Jurors set to mull fate of man accused in BU rape
Boston Herald, Wednesday, January 24, 2001
By David Weber
A Suffolk Superior Court jury will begin deliberating today the fate of a 33-year-old South End man accused of raping a Boston University student in her dormitory two weeks after she arrived in Boston to start her freshman year.
In closing arguments yesterday after a 10-day trial, the attorney for defendant Abdelmajid Akouk accused the 19-year-old woman of having consensual sex and then making up the rape story after being spotted by her friends as she escorted Akouk out of the dorm about 5 a.m. on Sept. 12, 1999.
Defense attorney Mary Ames said inconsistencies about where the alleged rape began-in a restroom shower stall, as the alleged victim testified, or in a toilet stall, as a nurse testified the alleged victim told her-indicate the story was fabricated.
Ames also emphasized the testimony of the alleged victim's roommate, who awoke and saw Akouk and the student having intercourse on the floor after leaving the bathroom. The roommate testified she believed the pair were simply having sex and that rape did not cross her mind until after the alleged victim made her allegation.
Prosecutor Edmond Zabin followed with his own summation, in which he slammed Ames for attacking the credibility of the alleged victim through "hours of cross-examination which scores not a single point."
"This defense of consent comes about for one reason: because the physical evidence (against Akouk) is overwhelming," Zabin said.
He reiterated that DNA from semen left inside the young woman's body and on her clothes matched that of Akouk.
He talked about Akouk's fingerprints inside the shower stall where the woman said the attack began. He reminded the jurors that police found a knife in Akouk's pocket that matched the woman's description of the knife she said she was threatened with.
And Zabin pointed out that three other women identified Akouk as the man who groped an Emmanuel College student as she walked past Fenway Park two hours before the alleged rape at Loretto Hall, an Emmanuel dorm rented by BU.
Zabin also recounted the testimony of a student who lived on the same floor as the alleged victim and heard someone trying her doorknob as she prepared to go to sleep shortly after 4 a.m. That woman testified she opened her door and saw Akouk with his distinctive "lazy" right eye before shutting her door and going to sleep.
"He was looking for someone to rape," Zabin said.