Sexual assault case nears conclusion

A verdict should soon be reached in the case of a cannery worker charged with sexually assaulting a coworker last summer.

Rosendo Pallones, 40, of Palmer, is charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault of another cannery worker. He is being tried in the Kenai Courthouse for the incident alleged to have happened last July at Snug Harbor Seafood.

Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet told jurors to expect to begin deliberating Monday.

According to Alaska State Trooper affidavits, Pallones was invited into his coworker’s room with a small group of people to hang out on the night of the incident. Through testimony Friday, it was revealed that he had been planning on leaving the next day, and members of the group had used the evening hang out to say goodbye.

According to the affidavit, Pallones told a trooper he had been drinking and smoking marijuana at the beach with a friend earlier in the day.

Pallones stated in the affidavit that the other members of the group left the room to get ready for work, but he remained and started giving the woman a back massage, and that “one thing led to another.”

The woman’s friend and roommate told troopers she returned to the room to find the lights turned off.

“Pallones was on top of her having sex with her, and she was crying and saying ‘no,’” she said, according to the affidavit.

On Friday, several witnesses including the alleged victim, her roommate, and expert witness Carol Klamser, an associate professor of nursing at University of Alaska Anchorage, gave testimony.

Klamser’s testimony, especially, brought to light the difficulties that come with interpreting physical evidence.

Called by the defense as a consultant to examine the findings of an initial and follow-up sexual assault examination, Klamser disagreed with both nurses’ interpretations.

Klamser said wounds that can be associated with sexual assault can also be associated with non-assault related activities.

“Certainly if there were huge lacerations…then you would think that usually a person wouldn’t want to sustain those injuries,” Klamser said. “The sexual assault exam is just one piece of the pie. It could be normal with consenting or non-consenting (sex).”

Conclusions surrounding the medical evidence of the case might be vague, but the issue of consent is not. Pallones, the alleged victim and her roommate all stated consent was lacking during their interviews with troopers, according to the affidavit.

Trial will resume at 9 a.m. at the Kenai Courthouse. If convicted, Pallones faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000.

Reach Megan Pacer at peninsulaclarion.com.

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