Former University of Hawaii at Manoa student Tyler Strong took the witness stand in his defense Thursday against allegations of sexual assault of a fellow student, whom he considered a close friend.
Strong, 19, testified that he had consensual sex with the 18-year-old woman accusing him of raping her in his UH dorm room last September.
The woman previously testified that after a night of partying and drinking, she went over to Strong’s room expecting she might kiss and cuddle with him to get back at another guy she liked — Strong’s next-door neighbor — whom she had fought with earlier in the night.
The woman said Strong forced himself on her and raped her amid her repeated protests to stop. She reported the assault to university campus security and police.
Strong, who now lives in Eugene, Ore., is charged with two counts of first-degree sex assault and one count of third-degree sex assault.
He says she came over to his room around 5 a.m. Sept. 21 after he texted her messages including, “Baby I wanna give it to you come back,” and “Me + you + bed = night”.
Strong said she never told him “no” or to stop at any time and that she “was being very passionate with me.”
“She had her hands on the back of my neck, sort of trying to hold me close,” he testified.
The woman, however, said she told him to stop six times.
“I was crying very, very obviously,” she recalled through tears on Monday. “I told him, like, six times to stop, and, like, I don’t know why six stands out, but it does. I told him six times to stop, and then he finally did after the sixth time.”
When asked under cross-examination Wednesday whether she fought back, she said, “No, I just laid there.”
Strong said after they had sex, she “began to cry out of nowhere” and abruptly left.
“At that point, I just felt completely used,” he said. “I was quite upset.”
Strong is scheduled to be cross-examined by the prosecution Thursday afternoon.