They would be 10 educated, professional women versus a demonstrated liar — a man who had pretended to be a doctor, a CIA employee, even an astronaut — whom a court-appointed psychologist would decide met the legal definition of a “sexually violent predator.” And yet the most remarkable thing about both trials wasn’t the way they exposed the alleged tactics of a serial date rapist.
It was that despite the outrageousness of the accusations against Marsalis, the testimony of 10 women wasn’t enough to get a single rape conviction against him.
It doesn’t fit with most people’s misguided concept of rape, for example, that Marsalis’s accusers went out with him willingly — thinking him a worldly doctor, the embodiment of Mr.
Right — and were initially enjoying their evening with him.
It makes you wonder: If these 10 women didn’t get a satisfying result, what chance does anyone have in a date rape case?
“Any woman was potential prey,” says Philadelphia special prosecutor Joseph Khan.
“Plenty of women were attracted to him, but this guy was aroused by the very idea of nonconsent.” As Leigh drove home that morning, she had no idea what lay in her future: that she would join 9 of those 21 accusers to face Marsalis in Philadelphia courtrooms over the course of two trials, telling nearly identical stories of assault.
“You hate to tell people that we have such terrible success with these cases at trial, because it makes victims think, Well then, why press charges?
” says retired police sergeant Joanne Archambault, president and training director of Sexual Assault Training and Investigations, also in Addy, Washington, a firm that educates law enforcement about rape.