McClain L. Durst, 29, of Sandusky, is accused of sexually assaulting four victims in vehicles in connection with incidents in June and July 2017. He faces charges of rape, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, importuning and sexual battery. Evidence in the case indicates Durst’s accusers are twin sisters who were 15 years old at the time, a teenager who was older than 16 and a 20-year-old woman.
Durst waived his right to testify Tuesday afternoon and Huron County Public Defender David Longo declined to present any witnesses on behalf of his client.
Assistant Prosecutor Bambi Couch, who gave a closing argument Tuesday afternoon that lasted slightly more than an hour, said Durst “chose to ignore” that the sisters told him they were 15 years old. She further alleged all four victims were “pulled, shoved or laid on top of or restrained” so they couldn’t leave the vehicle.
One of the victims was paralyzed and used a wheelchair when Durst is accused of raping her on a road near a corn field July 5, 2017. Couch told jurors “she couldn’t do anything to prevent him” from sexually assaulting her and “she had no way” to control her own conduct.
Durst is accused of using text messages to solicit the victims for sex before the suspected offenses, two of which reportedly happened hours apart on the same day, according to evidence presented in court.
“Two of these cases are committed with witnesses,” Couch said.
Huron County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Bill Duncan was the last witness for the state. His testimony lasted about three hours Tuesday morning.
Longo, in his nearly hour-long closing argument, said the state has presented “four weak cases” together so they could support one another. He also said the problem with the text messages is “you can’t be sure who sent it.”
Among the suspicious parts of the case, Longo said, was one possible victim didn’t come forward until six months afterward while another case represents “me too gone beserk.” Also, the public defender told jurors they should consider the lack of timely reports, there was no DNA evidence presented, one of the 15-year-old girls didn’t “look traumatized” at all during her interview and that the possible victims’ description of the vehicles that Durst drove don’t match.
“Rape is the most under-reported crime we deal with,” said Duncan, noting it’s more common for there to be a delay in reporting allegations than being timely. “Victims are afraid to come forward because they fear they won’t be believed.”
A representative of a digital forensics company testified Monday.
Brian Stofik, of Cellebrite Inc., provided his testimony for the state through GoToMeeting, which provides video conferences and other services. One of the missions of Cellebrite is “digital intelligence for a safer world.” Stofik was the eighth witness for the state.
The last of Durst’s four suspected rape victims testified she became pregnant by Durst after being raped by him in Erie County in 2017. Her testimony came Friday during the fourth day of the 29-year-old’s Huron County Common Pleas Court trial with Judge Jim Conway. After a jury was selected Aug. 21, testimony began the following morning.
The victim, who said she was 16 at the time of the suspected rape, testified she and a friend got into Durst’s car in Bellevue on June 12, 2017. She said she didn’t want to get into Durst’s car, but did so after her friend entered the vehicle.
The Bellevue Police Department pulled over Durst’s vehicle moments later. Officer Frank Sirse testified he stopped Durst’s vehicle after noticing its plates didn’t match the vehicle.
Durst told him he just purchased the car and hadn’t transferred the plates, which Sirse was able to confirm. Sirse testified he and another officer spoke with two other people in the car, including the victim.
He said he let Durst leave the scene and didn’t cite him for the license plates.
The girl testified Durst then drove her and her friend through the Clyde area and they ended up at the Resthaven Wildlife Area near Castalia after 5 a.m.
Durst then gave the girl and her friend a beer from his car, which they shared, the girl testified. During the night, Durst reportedly started making advances toward the girl.
“McClain kept putting his hands on me and bent me over and slammed (his groin) into the back of me while we had clothes on,” she said.
The girl said Durst eventually picked her up and carried her back to his vehicle, which the friend — who also testified — witnessed. The girl said she demanded Durst put her down but he did not.
She testified Durst told her friend he’d buy them cigarettes and breakfast if the friend gave him and the girl time alone. The friend set a timer on their phone for five minutes and walked away from the vehicle.
Next, the girl testified, Durst pulled her pants down and raped her in the backseat of the vehicle.
“I was telling him to stop,” the girl testified. “He was smiling, acting as if it was a game.”
The rape ended when the five minutes passed and the friend returned to the car. The friend testified they informed Durst a car just pulled up nearby and he got off of the girl.
The girl testified she learned she became pregnant by Durst during the rape and later had a miscarriage.
Durst’s attorney, Huron County Public Defender David Longo, questioned the girl on how she could confirm Durst was the father. The girl said nothing from the miscarriage was preserved for possible DNA testing by authorities.
Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Bambi Couch asked the friend, who said they saw Durst and the girl with their pants down, if they attempted to intervene. The friend said they didn’t.
“I’m mad I allowed my best friend to be raped,” the friend said.
Other law enforcement witnesses took the stand Friday, including Erie County sheriff’s Detective Dennis Papineau, who testified about receiving the report of the alleged Resthaven rape and processing evidence from Durst’s cellphone.
A woman and a girl both described being raped by Durst in his car. They were among the handful of witnesses to take the stand Thursday.
The girl, who was 15 at the time of the suspected assault, said she and Durst exchanged text messages, in which Durst told the girl he wanted to date her.
She testified she asked Durst for a ride home the night of July 5, 201, and he asked for sex in return. The girl agreed to have sex with Durst, according to text messages shown in court by Couch.
The girl testified she didn’t actually plan to have sex with Durst and she decided she would run from the vehicle if he attempted to have sex. She testified Durst drove past her home and took her to a nearby road with no traffic or street lights. The girl stated she opened the door to escape, but Durst is accused of pulling her back inside and raping her.
Couch also showed text messages sent from Durst’s phone to the girl’s prior to the suspected rape. He purportedly stated he was going to kiss the girl and asked for “sexy pics” — which the girl testified she didn’t send.
On cross-examination by Longo, the girl admitted she saw a post on Facebook about Durst’s past sex offenses before July 5, 2017. Longo questioned the girl on why she would get in a car alone with someone she suspected had committed sex crimes and she said she “had doubts” Durst was the man she saw on Facebook.
Longo also called to attention texts from the victim’s phone to Durst after the suspected rape, which discussed topics like sports games and Durst being a tattoo artist. The girl testified she tried to remain “friendly” with Durst out of fear.
Another victim, who was older than 18 during the suspected rape, testified Thursday. The woman said prior to the rape she contracted a rare illness that temporarily left her without the use of her legs and she spent months wheelchair-bound in an assisted living facility.
She testified she met Durst in the past and said also on July 5, 2017, Durst contacted her and asked if she wanted to go for a drive with him. The woman agreed and Durst signed her out of the facility as he drove her to a relative’s house. She said she didn’t fear being alone with him.
During the drive, Durst allegedly asked the woman for oral sex. Durst then is accused of pulling off the road into a cornfield and asking the woman for sex. The woman testified she didn’t say anything as Durst allegedly began to rape her.
After the suspected assault ended, Durst drove the woman to her relative’s house. The woman testified she confided in her relative while they were alone and the relative encouraged her to not report the rape.
Both victims described Durst driving different-colored vehicles.
Others who testified Thursday included a girl who was nearby while Durst reportedly attempted to get another girl, who testified Wednesday, to perform a sex act on him.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tandem Media Network contributed to this story.