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Marlins backup catcher Ramon Castro to stand trial

Thursday, November 06, 2003

By Steve Twedt, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Florida Marlins backup catcher Ramon Castro will face trial on sexual assault charges, District Justice Charles McLaughlin ruled at a preliminary hearing yesterday.

Florida Marlins backup catcher Ramon Castro leaves his preliminary hearing yesterday at the Allegheny County Courthouse. (Darrell Sapp, Post-Gazette)

After being held for court on charges of rape, sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and unlawful restraint, Castro was released on his own recognizance. No trial date was set.

Castro, 27, was arrested in August after a 28-year-old woman said he raped her in his Downtown hotel room after they'd had drinks at a Strip District bar. The woman testified she and another couple went to Castro's room to have more drinks and after the other couple left, he assaulted her.

Castro's attorney, J. Alan Johnson, said no rape took place, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to introduce evidence that he said showed the woman was not upset and did not immediately call police or report an assault.

For the purposes of a preliminary hearing, McLaughlin said, it was enough that the woman said she had told Castro "no" and later went to the hospital with scratches to her neck and chest.

The woman, under questioning by Johnson, said she had told Castro she had condoms in her purse, which he later retrieved. After he began to unzip her dress, "I told him to stop. I told him I wasn't interested," she said. She said she did not scream, did not try to call police or hotel security or try to leave when Castro was in the bathroom after the alleged attack.

"I didn't know what to do. I was scared," she said.

Johnson made several attempts to question the woman about how long she was in the hotel room and what she did after the alleged attack, but McLaughlin would not allow it.

"You're getting into a trial here," he told Johnson.

Johnson said the evidence would have raised questions about the validity of the charges.

"I am not getting a full and complete preliminary hearing," he told McLaughlin.


Steve Twedt can be reached at stwedt@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1963.

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