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Thursday, March 2, 2000

Trial begins for
three men charged in
sex assault of teen-ager

By Susan Kreifels


Three men facing sexual assault charges took part in an attempted "gang rape" of a 17-year-old girl in a Waikiki hotel room, according to a prosecutor.

But defense attorneys are arguing that sex with two defendants was consensual.

The lawyers yesterday gave opening statements in the trial of Mario Crawley, 28, and Habib Shabazz, 22, both charged with first-degree sexual assault; and Lloyd Swanson, 20, facing two counts of accomplice to sexual assault in the first degree.

Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter told jurors that "this case is going to be about an attempt to gang-rape a young local woman" on Oct. 19, 1998.

Van Marter said the alleged victim was a foster child and single mother who had moved into a halfway home to prepare for living on her own when she turned 18.

Van Marter said the girl knew Crawley and Shabazz, got into their car at the Ala Moana Shopping Center and ended up later that afternoon with Crawley, also known as "Quick," in a Coconut Plaza hotel room, where she took a shower.

While she was in the shower, Quick took her underwear and pants and refused to give them back, Van Marter said. Later Shabazz, also known as "T-Bone," Swanson and three other men came to the room and surrounded her.

"Quick started first," Van Marter said, forcing her to perform oral sex, then intercourse, and then trying to force anal sex. Shabazz next forced her to have intercourse, he said.

The two men used condoms, Van Marter said. The alleged assailants told her not to go to police.

She was able to get away, he said. The next day she went for medical exams and reported the alleged assaults.

Attorneys for the defendants stressed that sex with Crawley and Shabazz was consensual, that there was no physical evidence implicating the men, and that all the state had to go on was the accusations of the alleged victim.

Michael Green, representing Crawley, said the young woman did not know Crawley and Shabazz but she decided to "kick it," or spend time with them, anyway.

The three drank whiskey together, he said, and the young woman could have "walked away " any time. While she was alone in the hotel with Crawley, she even asked for a maintenance man to fix the air conditioning, then walked "half naked" with the man to another floor to get ice.

After having consensual sex with Crawley, she asked for Shabazz to come to the room because he had "pretty eyes." The others came with him.

"She's plenty street smart," Green said. "There's reasonable doubt all over this case."

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