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Trial begins in apartment complex rape case

SAN MARCOS — A maintenance man accused of raping an intoxicated tenant inside her San Marcos apartment engaged in consensual intercourse with the woman, his attorney said Aug. 13.
Contrary to the victim’s accusations, Samuel Lopez Duarte, a repairman at Terra Cotta apartments, was seduced by Linda B. as he fixed a loose towel rack in her apartment Dec. 30 2008, Duarte’s attorney, Richard Duquette said in his opening argument.
Further, the lawyer told jurors that this wasn’t the first time the two had consensual sex. Duquette said there were two other incidents of intercourse after which his client paid Linda B. $50 at her request.
Duarte, 45, is charged with one felony count each of forcible rape and rape of an unconscious person. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison, according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege the victim, who is an alcoholic, had passed out on her couch after drinking a beer when she arrived home on that December morning. Prior to taking her 4-year-old son to daycare, Deputy District Attorney Natalie Villaflor told jurors Linda B. had placed a work order with the apartment complex because of a loose towel rack.
Feeling pressure on her chest, Linda B. awoke to Duarte raping her, Villaflor said. She screamed “no” and struggled to get Duarte off of her; however, he put his finger over her mouth and said “shh,” the prosecutor said.
DNA from Linda B. and Duarte was located on a bed sheet where the intercourse took place.
“This case is about consent and a witness’ lack of credibility,” Duquette said. Linda B. submitted the work request that morning as an excuse to get Duarte in her apartment that day, he said.
Initially, the victim had filed a work order the previous day to have her front door and the towel rack fixed, and while Duarte repaired the former, he couldn’t get to the latter request, Duquette said.
In 2007, Duquette said Linda B. filed another complaint for sexual harassment against another maintenance man.
Duarte is expected to testify at the trial.