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Woman testifies divorce lawyer got her pregnant, paid for abortion

TNS Regional News • Jun 20, 2014 at 11:07 AM

A woman who hired Javier Armengau to represent her in a divorce case testified yesterday that he repeatedly forced her to perform oral sex on him by threatening that she could be deported and separated from her daughter.

When the woman told him to stop, she said, he told her that “he knows all the judges, he’s a good lawyer, who is going to believe me?”

The assaults occurred from 1998 to 2003, she testified, often in Armengau’s office in Marion but also in her Dublin apartment “more times than I can count.”

She is the last of five accusers to testify against Armengau, who is on trial in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on charges of rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, kidnapping and public indecency. Each of the women had some connection to Armengau’s work as a criminal defense attorney.

In a contentious cross-examination yesterday afternoon, defense attorney Frederick Benton confronted the woman with a series of documents to show that she continued to seek Armengau’s assistance and legal representation as late as 2004.

He wrote letters on her behalf in 2002 to help her recover payments for work she did for Ohio State University Extension and in 2003 to address an employment issue at a bank. In 2004, he represented her on a traffic ticket in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Benton demanded to know why she kept asking for help from Armengau, a man she testified that she has hated since the first sexual assault.

“Everything I ask him, he do it because he doesn’t want me to speak,” she said. “He’s abusing me all that time, so I have to do something for me.”

The woman said that she is a native of Venezuela who came to the United States in 1993 with her then-boyfriend. They married and eventually moved to Columbus for his job. The couple had a daughter in 1997, she said, and her husband asked for a divorce eight months later. The divorce was finalized in August 2001.

The woman said she hired Armengau, 52, as her attorney because he speaks Spanish, her primary language.

The 46-year-old woman testified that she complied with Armengau’s demands for oral sex because he told her that he had the ability to solve problems with her immigration status and prevent her from being sent back to Venezuela without her daughter. She said the abuse stopped after she obtained a green card in 2003.

She testified that Armengau also twice forced her to engage in intercourse in his truck, after driving her to what she described as an open field.

The woman said she became pregnant in 2000 or 2001 and was convinced that Armengau was the father. She said he paid for an abortion and took her to a Columbus clinic for the procedure, but she couldn’t remember where.

Defense attorney Jennifer Coriell said last week in her opening statement that jurors will hear evidence that Armengau had a vasectomy in 1999.

Under questioning yesterday by Assistant Ohio Attorney General Daniel Breyer, the woman said Armengau never mentioned a vasectomy when told of the pregnancy.

The names of four of Armengau’s accusers are being withheld by The Dispatch because of the sexual nature of the allegations. The first woman who testified was interviewed by the newspaper last year and agreed to be identified.

The trial, which began on June 9, is expected to last into next week in the courtroom of Judge David W. Fais.


By John Futty - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at www.dispatch.com

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