Federal jury hears sexually graphic testimony in rape case

MARQUETTE — A mostly female jury was picked inside a federal courtroom in Marquette today to decide whether an Upper Peninsula man raped his girlfriend or whether it was drunken sex.

Lynn Michael LaVictor, 44, is being tried on six federal felony charges stemming from a June 2014 incident at his mother’s home on the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians Reservation.

In court Thursday, opening arguments were held by Assistant Federal Prosecutor Hannah Bobee, who is a member of the Soo Tribe, and the federal equivalent of a defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Beth Beth LaCosse, a former U.P. prosecutor.

“It is a scary idea when the government can come into our house and regulate our sex lives,” LaCosse told jurors in her opening arguments.

LaCosse told jurors the victim will testify that she was not raped and that the couple had a tumultuous relationship.  Meanwhile, Prosecutor Bobee said the case is about the suspects “use of power and control.”

Jurors heard two the audio of two 911 calls made by LaVictor from the overnight incident on June 26 and 27, 2014.

It took nearly an hour before the victim, who was bleeding profusely, was taken by ambulance to a Soo area hospital.  LaVictor told the dispatcher that his girlfriend was in the shower.  LaVictor could be heard bragging about his sexual prowess and for several minutes refused to give dispatchers his address worried he would be arrested.

There was also testimony from a Chippewa County 911 dispatcher, EMTs, and a tribal police officer. Several of LaVictor’s former girlfriends are expected to testify that he beat and raped them.

Both sides agree LaVictor’s 43–year–old Native American girlfriend needed medical attention after the incident.  At issue is whether the jury believes the victim’s original story about a rape, or her later recanting of the statement – allegedly at LaVictor’s behest.

LaVictor has two previous domestic violence convictions and is charged as habitual offender. LaVictor’s defense team argues it was a night of sexual escapades, arguing, and drinking.  Prosecutors say the woman was raped brutally by a wine bottle and other large objects.

Testimony in the trial is expected to last through Tuesday.