I sat through a few hours of the two-day Jose Juarez trial in Willmar this week. He's accused of grabbing a young woman as she was smoking outside the Eagle's Club in Willmar last Summer, dragging her half a block and attempting to sodomize her in a two-foot-wide alley. On Monday I listened to several witnesses, friends of the victim, police and employees of the Eagle's Club who portrayed Juarez as a drunken nuisance who was aggresively flirting with the victim inside and outside the bar, got kicked out, and was later caught literally with his pants down on top of the screaming victim in the alley. On Tuesday I listened as Juarez gave his side of the story. He said he had probably drank 10 to 16 beers by the time he spotted two young women and their male companions outside the Eagles Club. The bespectabled Juarez is 52, overweight with a shaved head, and lumpy face and he wanted Judge Smith to believe that while he was in this very intoxicated state, he convinced this young woman to suddenly start "making out" with him for 15 to 20 minutes outside the club, and to later agree to have consensual sex with him in this narrow, wet, trash-strewn alley after he got kicked out of the club. He wanted the Judge to believe this giggly, aggressive girl bent over and hit her head on the alley wall, had a siezure, and suddenly became terrified of him and screamed for help. Her friend Brandon Binger responded almost immeadiately after being notified by another friend and got Juarez off of her. Her dress was torn and her back was filthy and scraped. Binger, unfortunately, could not testify because he was killed in an auto accident near Cosmos last month. Mr. Juarez gave his profanity-laced testimony before Judge Smith, with his wife in the audience, with a straight face and asked her to believe him. He's lucky I wasn't on a jury. In fact, he did not ask for a jury trial, he asked for the judge to hear the case without a jury. Juarez has a previous sex conviction and could face a life prison term if Smith finds him guilty.
Our longtime general manager at Lakeland Broadcasting, Doug Loy, has stepped down from his post to pursue other challenges. We threw him a farewell party aboard the Melvin's Houseboat on a gorgeous afternoon and evening on Green Lake Thursday. Doug started at Lakeland 4 years before I did and has been here thorugh many changes...acquiring two more stations, and the advent of a little thing called "the internet." Through it all Doug has managed with a positive style that has kept employees loyal and the station successful. He was a good boss, a good guy and a good friend. I hope whatever comes next for Doug he will enjoy as much as we enjoyed working with him.
And to whoever "keyed" my car as it sat at the Taunton Stadium Parking Lot this week...just thank your lucky stars that I didn't catch your or that I don't find out who you are. Believe me, the police will be the last people I call. Some suspect it may have been people hanging around the skateboard park that the city has just relocated next to the parking lot. I won't stereotype skateboarders as vandals or criminals, but the police were called early Thursday morning to disburse kids hanging around the lot when they shouldn't have.