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No sign of force one expert says

June 10, 2004

Deepa Bharath

An expert medical witness for the defense in a high-profile gang-rape

case testified on Wednesday that the alleged victim did not suffer

any anal injuries and seemed to be a willing participant in the

sexual activity.

Greg Haidl, son of Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl, Kyle

Nachreiner and Keith Spann are accused of raping an unconscious

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16-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her with various objects

such as a Snapple bottle, fruit juice can, lighted cigarette and pool

cue, as she lay on a pool table in the garage of the Haidls' Corona

del Mar home.

Marvin Corman, a specialist in colorectal surgery, looked at a

video of Jane Doe's anal exam on a large television monitor in the

courtroom and said that he saw no tears or cuts except for the ones

he said were caused by the examining nurse.

Corman criticized the nurse who conducted the examination on the

girl days after the alleged incident. He said the nurse was using a

Q-Tip, which is normally not used in such exams because it is a sharp

object and can cause injury. As he watched the examination, Corman

remarked: "I wouldn't do that to a patient if I ever wanted that

person to enter my office again."

The doctor said he had not watched the 20-minute tape of the

incident, which was made by the defendants. Corman told Deputy Dist.

Atty. Dan Hess that he watched a three-minute portion of it during a

break in the proceedings on Wednesday.

Based on his viewing of the tape, Corman said he believed the

defendants did not use the objects such as the pool stick on Jane Doe

with "a malicious intent."

"Are you saying it was a friendly penetration?" Hess asked.

"I'm just saying that if the pool cue was inserted, it was done in

a safe manner," Corman replied. "It was done with the permission of

[Jane Doe] who had to have relaxed considerably to allow the

insertion. I thought the pool cue was used gently."

But when Hess asked Corman if the "relaxing" could have been the

result of Jane Doe being unconscious or sedated, the doctor said he

could not answer that question accurately because he is not an expert

in pharmacology or anesthetics.

Corman's testimony was a big victory for the defense, said Haidl

co-counsel Pete Scalisi.

"I believe that it absolutely devastated the government's case,"

he said outside the courthouse. "Dr. Corman said he saw no injuries

and there was no force used. I've done this a long time, and I've

never seen one witness walk in like this and torpedo a major portion

of the government's case."

When asked if Corman's testimony damaged the prosecution's case,

Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan Schroeder simply said: "No."

"The only opinion that matters is the opinion of the jury," she

said.

Scalisi said Corman's testimony also sets the stage for the

defense motion to eliminate the charges relating to use of force by

defendants. It would bring down the number of felony counts from 24

to 19 against each of the defendants and introduce the possibility of

giving them probation, he said. That would be a decision for the

judge to make, not the jury, Scalisi added.

Judge Francisco Briseno is scheduled to hear that motion today,

along with two other motions for mistrial. The defense expects to

rest its case early next week.

* DEEPA BHARATH covers public safety and courts. She may be

reached at (949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at deepa.bharath@latimes.com.

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