Victim testifies at trial

By Katherine Wartell

It was a 2012 photograph of her alleged rapist in a local magazine that inspired a now-27-year-old Manhattan woman to report more than four years after the fact that she had been raped by the former friend, the woman told jurors Wednesday.

The image shows William Yankey, 28, a visiting assistant professor of interior architecture at Kansas State University, standing near a female student as they observe machinery. It was taken for a story on Yankey’s guitar-making abilities and the caption read that Yankey was helping the student.

The image resonated with the woman, provoking her to go to police, she told jurors in the second day of Yankey’s rape trial. 

According to Yankey’s defense attorney, Barry Clark, the actual student in the photo was subpoenaed by Clark to speak on Yankey’s character and will tell jurors, if called, that Yankey is good man and good friend.

But to the victim, the woman in the photo represented herself at a younger age. She told jurors that she finally went to police after deciding she didn’t want anyone else to be victimized by a man she says came into her room—while her husband slept a room away—and digitally penetrated her and groped her body as she slept.

The woman told jurors she awoke to find Yankey over her. But she feigned sleep until he left, which, she said, was not long after he told her, “You liked that, didn’t you?”

According to court testimony, Yankey had been best friends with the plaintiff’s husband for years and close to the plaintiff prior to the alleged rape. Yankey had lived with her husband as they attended K-State and would stay with the couple after he moved from Manhattan following graduation.

The incident occurred on a weekend in December 2007 when Yankey was visiting the couple.

It was testified that the three had gone to Aggieville the night Yankey arrived before returning to the couple’s home, where the woman went to bed. Yankey and her husband stayed up drinking in the living room, where the husband fell asleep. By the time the couple woke up the next morning, the woman said, Yankey had already left.

According to court testimony, the plaintiff met with Yankey at a local restaurant on the same day of the alleged incident, but what was said is under dispute.

The plaintiff told jurors she informed Yankey that he raped her. But in a 2012 interview with police, admitted by the state as evidence, Yankey told Det. Steve Gregoire the woman had said that they had been talking in her bedroom when he came on to her, trying to kiss and touch her. He said the woman told him that she asked him to stop and said that he left the room not long after.

After the detective told Yankey of the plaintiff’s version of events, Yankey could be seen on tape stating that was the first time he was hearing any accusation of digital penetration.

Yankey wrote a statement for the detective in which he stated that the plaintiff and her husband had had a huge fight the night he came into town, but he said he could not remember anything of what had allegedly happened in the plaintiff’s bedroom.

In his statement, he wrote that he woke up in the couple’s guest bedroom and left early in the morning to visit his sister.

The woman did not tell her husband of the incident until 2009, telling jurors she was concerned the news would damage their marriage. She had contact with Yankey on several occasions after December 2007 since her husband, unaware of the allegations, was still close to Yankey. That contact ceased, she said, after she told him following Yankey’s 2009 move back to Manhattan, where he accepted a faculty position at K-State.

In court Wednesday, Clark repeatedly asked the woman about smiling photographs gleaned from Facebook that depict Yankey in social situations with either herself, her husband or close friends that were taken after December 2007.

On some of the Facebook photos that included Yankey, the woman had written positive messages, such as that she loved the photo or specifically referencing Yankey in a manner that appeared to be joking. Clark also claimed she had taken some of those photos, though the woman denied those claims.

She was questioned for approximately three hours Wednesday by Clark and the state, represented by assistant county attorneys Barry Disney and Kendra Lewison.

On Wednesday, the state also called Gregoire who read Yankey’s statement and described Yankey’s interview with police in June 2012. Yankey was arrested in September 2012.

In court Thursday morning, the state called two friends of the plaintiff and her husband, who was still on the stand at the time of publication.

The trial, excluding jury deliberation, is scheduled to conclude at the end of Thursday.

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