Dangerous Minds

An alleged rape at a county psych ward has Maricopa County acting like a schizophrenic

Then, she says, she lay in bed awake for the rest of the night.

In the deposition, Michele Iafrate asked McAllister if she'd told her roommate what had happened after the other woman returned from the movie.

"No, because I didn't know her," McAllister replied. "I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated and I didn't really want anyone to know."

Nor did she tell anyone else that night at Desert Vista. "I didn't think I had to say specifically someone raped me. I thought it was obvious by my condition and where he was that I had been molested. I thought that Kathy, the attendant, knew what had happened."

Kathy Winscher said in a deposition last April that she didn't believe Gregg raped McAllister.

"Do you have an opinion as to whether or not Justin Gregg raped Jennifer McAllister on June 29, 2001?" attorney Martin Mathers asked.

"I don't believe he did," Winscher answered. "Because I don't believe there was enough time."

Late on the morning after the alleged assault, McAllister says, she left a message on her mother's phone machine, blurting that she'd been raped. "I didn't want to call her, and I wasn't planning on saying anything to her because I was still embarrassed and I was humiliated. I called my mom because I wanted underwear."

Within a few hours, records show, one of McAllister's family members reported the alleged rape to the Mesa Police Department. Officer Greg Beck drove over to Desert Vista late on the afternoon of June 30, 2001, where McAllister's parents already had gone.

The officer met alone with McAllister in a conference room there, where she recounted the alleged events much the same as she's repeating today.

Kathy Winscher told Officer Beck that her assignment the day before had been to monitor Unit 5's day room – where the movie was playing – and the hallway. She said there simply hadn't been enough time for a rape to have occurred. Winscher said Gregg had walked past her down the hall, but that he was out of her view only "for a brief moment." (In later depositions, she said Gregg had been out of her line of vision for no more than a minute or so.)

Winscher said she'd gone to find him, and instead bumped into McAllister, who'd asked her to get him out of her room. "Winscher said Jennifer was fully clothed and did not appear or sound distressed," according to the police report.

(Later, she told lawyers in a deposition, "I should think there would be some distress if it was a rape.")

According to Beck's report, Winscher then found Gregg, dressed in his scrubs, sitting on McAllister's bed. She apparently never asked him what he was doing there, and simply ordered him back to his own room.

Oddly, the Mesa police never searched Jennifer McAllister's room – the alleged crime scene. Instead, officers relied on a Desert Vista nurse to bundle up and bag McAllister's bed sheets, which would reveal little of evidentiary value.

The officers decided to transport McAllister to the police station – actually the adjacent Center Against Family Violence – to undergo a rape test and further interviews, and to make a "confrontational call" to Justin Gregg.

That kind of call is a venerable law enforcement technique in which an alleged victim tries to get a suspect to confess, while police listen in and record the conversation.

Jennifer McAllister phoned Justin Gregg at Desert Vista early that evening, June 30, 2001. She starts by thanking Gregg for giving her the cigarette the previous day. She says she's out of the hospital, then gets to the point.

"Why did you come into my room last night?" McAllister asks.

"'Cause I wanted to get to know you better, I don't know," Gregg responds. "Something romantic to do, I guess."

"Why did you have sex with me?"

"I didn't."

"You just came in my room and just sat there for a while?"

"Yeah."

"You didn't take my clothes off?"

"No, I wanted to."

"How come you were laying on top of me?"

"Because I wanted to make love to you."

"How come you didn't?"

"Because you were asleep."

"I felt you inside me," McAllister says.

"Did it feel good?" Gregg replies.

"What was it like for you?"

"It was great."

"What was it? Was it your penis or was it something else?"

"My penis."

Gregg tells McAllister he'd ejaculated inside her – something that isn't substantiated by the rape test. Gregg never has provided his DNA for examination by authorities, and McAllister's rape test revealed no evidence that would confirm there even was penetration that night.

McAllister then asks Gregg why he didn't ask her permission to have sex with her.

"'Cause you looked so peaceful," he says. "I didn't know if you wanted to or didn't want to."

A few seconds later, she asks, "Did you try to wake me up?"

"Yeah," Gregg replies. "You got scared."

He then tells McAllister, "I know you better than you think," then alludes to an alleged earlier conversation during which she told him about passing out in a bathroom after overdosing on pills. (She denies that conversation.)

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