Rumours and gossip spread after alleged ADFA rape, court hears

In the months after a male ADFA cadet allegedly raped another cadet in her room, rumours and gossip spread about the woman, a court heard on Tuesday.

One former cadet, now a lieutenant in the army, said the woman was upset and angry about the rumours that she was not good in bed, and the woman told her she had been “barely conscious”.

Several witnesses also agreed under cross-examination that there was more gossip and rumour after someone scratched the word “slut” into the woman’s car in mid-2014, about a year after the alleged rape happened.

Former cadet Harlan Agresti, 23, is facing a retrial in the ACT Supreme Court this week over the alleged rape.

He has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

Prosecutors contend the woman was too drunk to consent, and Mr Agresti knew it.

One witness, now a pilot in training, remembered the car scratch incident, and agreed with defence barrister Philip Dunn QC that there was a “whole lot of gossip” about the woman at that time.

He earlier told the jury he had seen the woman and Mr Agresti climb the stairwell before going to her room after returning from Civic the night of June 22, 2013.

He said the woman was in front and was quiet and “very droopy”, using the handrail to walk up the stairs. He thought she had been drinking but could not say the same about Mr Agresti.

He said Mr Agresti followed the woman up the staircase and into her room before he closed the door.

The court heard at the Australian Defence Force Academy there are rules against fraternisation.

The next day the witness asked Mr Agresti about the night before, and the reply was that the woman was a bad “root”, had “starfished” and “did nothing”.

He also spoke to the woman about the incident and she denied they had sex and asked him not to spread rumours.

Another former cadet, now a lieutenant in the army, said she spoke to the woman, who told her she had been “barely conscious” during the incident.

The alleged victim was distressed and angry over the rumours about the description of her during the act, the witness agreed.

A different former cadet, now in the navy, agreed with Mr Dunn that it was “pretty soon” after the car scratch incident that the rape allegation was reported.

Earlier, the jury saw a video and audio recording of the woman at the earlier trial answering a defence barrister’s questions.

She was challenged on her memories of the night.

She said, for example, that she remembered kissing Mr Agresti while they were on her bed but did not remember how that came to happen.

Audio of Mr Agresti’s evidence from the first trial was also played to the jury.

Mr Agresti wiped at his eyes as the recording played and the court heard him explain why he joined ADFA to learn leadership and how he was suspended after the allegation.

He said the woman had been touchy and flirty with him, and said he could touch her breasts if he went out that night.

He said when they got back to campus she asked him to put her to bed.

The trial continues.