Editor’s note: This story includes details about a reported rape that some people may find upsetting. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual or domestic assault, contact the police or The Tompkins County Advocacy Center here.  

ITHACA, N.Y. — The trial for a man charged with raping a woman at a nightclub in Downtown Ithaca began Tuesday.

Jonathan “Scar” Smith, 30, is charged with felony first-degree rape and first-degree sex abuse for a crime that is reported to have happened on June 6, 2015 at Lot 10.

After opening statements Tuesday morning, the woman in the case took the stand and explained to jurors what happened in the early morning hours of that Saturday three years ago.

The woman said she was at Lot 10 with a friend and was looking to buy cocaine. She was having no luck finding the drug, she said, so she stood in the courtyard texting. That’s when Smith approached her, she said, saying that a mutual friend told him she was looking for cocaine. She said she was.

“He grabbed my hand and led me up the back staircase,” she said, taking her into the men’s bathroom where she assumed they would do cocaine together.

He gave her a line of the drug and she asked him if he was going to do any. She said he told her that he wanted to do the drug off of her body.

She said she was “immediately uncomfortable” and suggested Smith do cocaine off the toilet or toilet paper roll instead. ”

He was persistent and he said, ‘No I want to do it off of you,’” she told jurors Tuesday.

The woman said Smith began removing her clothing and she said, “I don’t want to do this. You don’t want to do this.”

She said he then proceeded to rape her in the bathroom stall for several minutes before they were interrupted by someone who came into the bathroom and asked what was going on in the stall.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was terrified. I was shocked. I was angry,” she said.

It was enough of a distraction for her to get out of the stall where she washed and dried her hands before handing Smith some paper towels when he asked her. The person who interrupted asked if she was OK and she walked out of the bathroom without saying anything so she could look for her friend, she said.

“I think I was trying to normalize the situation,” the woman said.

She found her friend immediately afterward and told her friend what happened, but she said her friend was too drunk to understand what was happening. So she left the bar alone and ran into Smith at the front door.

She said he put his arm around her neck and said, “Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you. You’re coming with me.”

The woman said he began pulling her along as he and his friends walked down the street. One of his friends started yelling at him for cheating on his girlfriend, and the woman said she took the opportunity to get out of his grip and run away to her apartment several blocks away.

“I was in complete shock. I was scared. I was afraid. I felt ashamed. I felt all sorts of things,” she said.

She told her friend what happened the next afternoon and then, on Sunday, she reported the incident to the police and Cayuga Medical Center, where a rape kit was done on her to collect evidence.

Ithaca police Investigator Christine Barksdale testified that Smith, who police already had DNA samples of, had sexual intercourse with the woman, according to the DNA found in the rape kit. A buccal swab test confirmed that the DNA collected from the woman came from Smith.

Defense attorney David Bahn did not ask the woman any questions during cross-examination.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia and Assistant District Attorney Diane Lama are prosecuting the case in front of Judge Scott Miller.

The trial is slated to continue Wednesday with possible deliberation starting late Tuesday afternoon.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.