VOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 |Jan 20 - 26, 2005


Lesbian Rape Charged

Two Massachusetts Women Held in Brutal Assault on Third

By MICK MEENAN

Police in Northampton, Massachusetts, have arrested two young woman on rape and assault charges stemming from a violent incident involving another female, a Smith College student.

Rachel Ann Klobertanz, 22, and Augusta Claire Kendall, 22, who also attends Smith, appeared before District Court Judge W. Michael Goggins on Tueday of this week and pleaded innocent to charges of rape and sexual assault.

Both women told police that on the previous Friday night, January 14, they engaged in consensual sex with another female, a 20-year-old. However, what they described as commencing as a night of socializing apparently spiraled into a lurid episode of violence and sexual battery.

Nancy Gonter, a reporter for The Republican in Springfield, a western Massachusetts daily newspaper, filed a story that appeared in Wednesday’s issue before the story broke nationwide.

The incident occurred off-campus from Smith College, a traditionally female undergraduate institution known for attracting a significant number of lesbian students.

In an e-mail message, Gonter indicated that Smith College students are still on winter vacation. A spokeswoman for the school, Kristin Cole, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

According to Gonter’s newspaper account, a state prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Susan J. Loehn, said that the victim met her two assailants at a downtown Northampton bar on Friday night and then accompanied them to their apartment. According to Loehn, the victim went there voluntarily, despite having obtained a restraining order against Klobertanz in August.

Gonter reported that according to police documents, the three women shared several bottles of champagne and then went to a bedroom where the three engaged in consensual sex.

“During the encounter, the victim was placed in handcuffs, although she did not remember how, police reports state,” wrote Gonter.

At one point, Kendall slapped the victim’s face after she announced she wanted to stop, police said.

However, the two female perpetrators ignored her, according to the victim’s account. Police said that Kendall used a knife to slash the victim’s abdomen and other parts of her body and then raped her while Klobertanz held her legs.

Loehn, the prosecutor, said that Kendall has no criminal record, but that Klobertanz has a pending assault and battery charge in Rhode Island.

In an interview with Gonter, Loehn, a ten-year veteran of the district attorney’s office, said that she has prosecuted cases against female rapists before, but that this case was unusual because of the level of violence involved.

In an Associated Press account, David Roundtree, an attorney for Kendall, said that “there are some significant issues with respect to consent,” in an apparent reference to his client’s claim of innocence. Roundtree described Kendall as having a 3.0 grade-point average at Smith.

When reached by telephone, Roundtree said, “Thank you. I have no comment,” before hanging up.

In the AP report, Thomas Estes, Klobertanz’s public defender, said that both defendants insist that the sex with the 20-year-old woman was consensual. Estes did not return a telephone call seeking his comment.

Kendall was released on Tuesday after posting $2,500 cash bail.

According to Gonter’s story in The Republican, the victim, whose identity has not been disclosed by law enforcement authorities, obtained a restraining order against Klobertanz last August after the two had a fight about money and Klobertanz pushed her into an antique clock and a bed.

“Then she grabbed me by the neck and tried to strangle me,” the woman wrote in an affidavit requesting the restraining order after the incident occurred at the victim’s mother’s house in North Kingston, Rhode Island. It was unclear if the pending Rhode Island charges against Klobertanz stem from that incident.

Gonter also wrote that Gerard Tomasini, a male roommate of Kendall and Klobertanz, also obtained a restraining order against both women after he learned from police following their arrest that the two owned a knife collection. Tomasini said that he had a long history of conflict with the women and that Klobertanz had been living in the South Street apartment since October without his consent.

The women’s next court appearance is on February 18.

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