An Irish 22-year-old student told a New York rape trial how she used “every ounce of strength” to pull her knee up and kick her attacker in the groin in an attempt to end the assault.
The victim, known to the court only as D.D, flew from Ireland to testify in Suffolk County Criminal Court, in Riverhead, Long Island. This is the first time she has faced her alleged attacker, former Goldman Sachs executive, Jason Lee (38).
This is the second week of the trial. Lee pleaded not guilty to all charges and waived his right to a jury. The trial is being heard by Judge Barbara Kahn. He faces a 25-year sentence if convicted.
In court on Tuesday, the fourth day of the trial, the Irish student dropped her head and cried as she was asked to identify Lee in court.
The alleged attack took place on August 20, 2013. The woman had been working on a J-1 visa for the summer in the US. She was visiting her brother, who was working in Montauk, on her way back to Ireland.
On the second night of her visit the student, along with her brother and friends ,went to the Georgica nightclub, in East Hampton. The woman described the club as “very fancy, too fancy for us.”
She told the court that when Lee and his friend, Rene Duncan, approached her and her friend they thought it was funny. She said “We were just students, we didn’t have much to offer.”
When the club closed the woman, her brother and their friends returned to Lee’s $33,000-a-month rental beach house.
The woman and her friend jumped into the pool in their underwear and then returned to the kitchen where they drank champagne and ate pizza. She said everything “was fine.”
Her brother said they should leave and the student went do the bathroom to get changed. In the bathroom she became aware of Lee standing naked in the doorway.
He said he “was standing there on the other side of the door with no clothes on.
“At first I thought he was joking.”
She told the court that as he pushed on the door she tripped and fell backwards.
Crying she testified that “He was on top of me holding my hands each side of my head.”
She said at first she didn’t understand what was happening. When she told him to get off her and called her friend he put his hand over her mouth, told her “to shut the f*ck up,” and raped her.
She said “with every ounce of strength I had I pulled up my knee,” forcing it into his groin and forcing him off her body.
After the attack she said she could not bear to put her dress and underwear back on. She “they were disgusting.” She said he sat in the bathroom “in disbelief.”
She put dressed herself in the shorts and t-shirt she had put on immediately after leaving the pool.
Shortly after the police were called to the scene on a different matter. The student said she did not want to talk to them and just wanted “to go home.”
She said "I felt like it was my fault. I shouldn't have gotten in to the car. I should have just gone home. "
She said she has not told her parents or anyone in Ireland about the attack or the trial.
Earlier on Tuesday the Irish woman’s friend testified.
She said that at the start of the night “everyone was in good form, enjoying themselves.”
At the nightclub the friend, known as Fiona in court, met Rene Duncan, Lee’s friend, and they kissed. Then the Irish students joined Lee and Duncan at their table.
Back at the beach house said that the allege victim’s brother took Duncan’s car to drive two local men home. The two women jumped into the pool but did not stay in long. It was then that Lee stripped naked and jumped in the pool.
She said back in the kitchen everyone was in “good form” but the victim’s brother then noticed that she was missing and became “curious as to where she had got to.”
Minutes later the woman emerged at the door.
Her friend told the court “She looked shaken, scared, she had tears in her eyes. Her eyes were blood shot.”
The alleged victim told the court she “just wanted to go.”
It was around this time Duncan became agitated over where his car was. Lee tried to calm him down saying there was “no need to call the police.” He jumped into his Range Rover and “I’m going to bring ye, come on.”
The group was now on the front lawn. The alleged victim’s friend said “I observed her being really quiet. She was very shaken and scared and she just wanted to go.”
When the police arrived the allege victim’s brother told the officer there was something wrong with his sister. She was taken to the squad car. Her friend was asked to join them in the car shortly after. She told the court that she told her what had happened and said “we just cried.”
When the Irish women’s friend got out of the police car. She said “I walked over to Rene and told him that his friend was going to be in a lot of trouble.”
Lee’s defense lawyer, Andrew Lankler, said the group had been drinking bottles of Absolut Vodka in the club. He also questioned her about a bottle of wine and champagne that was opened back at the house. She said she didn’t believe she had “any drinks at the house.”
At the start of proceedings prosecutor Kerriann Kelly told Judge Kahn that the detectives who escorted the young women on Monday night had noticed they were being followed. At the hotel police were able to get the plate details. One of the two suspicious vehicles matched the plates to that of a private investigator. Kelly reminded the court that an order of protection had been issued for the alleged victim in 2014 and third parties weren’t permitted to approach the woman.
Lankler said that he wanted to state “emphatically, clearly and unequivocally” that no one on the defense team, including Lee had hired an investigator.